Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.12
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.12
 

           Bailey Ardisone

  ~Nari~

  I should have known.

  When I woke to loud crashing the next morning, I should have known that it meant Ray was not only home, but also very angry at something.

  I began to pull my comforter over my head to escape when there was a lull in the screaming and crashing, and suddenly everything went quiet. I had to get ready for school or I was going to be late. Hoping that the silence meant Ray had just left, I lay there for a few seconds more just to make sure.

  Okay…here I go.

  Quickly, I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I put my back against it and took a deep breath.

  Just when I was about to take a step forward, I heard those dreaded footsteps walk up the hallway and stop outside the bathroom. I just about jumped out of my skin when Ray started banging on the door as if his life depended on it. There was no reason anyone had to pound like that unless it was an emergency—a life or death situation. Of course, with Ray, just losing the remote control would count as an emergency.

  “Get out here now!” shouted the dark voice on the other side of the door.

  Instantly, it sent my heart hammering hard in my chest, just about as hard as Ray had pounded on the door. I blinked back a tear and tried to compose myself.

  I quickly did a mental scan to check if there was anything I had missed on my chore list yesterday. Did I forget to do something? I went over the list in my head, but all I could remember was being satisfied that the house was spic-and-span before I left. I couldn’t have forgotten something.

  I should have stayed in my bed and pretended to be asleep. I should have gotten up earlier and left before he got up. I should have escaped through the window as soon as I heard the crashing.

  “I said now!” the angry voice continued as I tried to muster up the courage to open the door.

  I put my fingers on the knob and slowly opened it, wincing as his hand grabbed the door and shoved it all the way open. I didn’t, no I couldn’t meet his eyes, so I just looked down at the floor as Ray reached in and grabbed my arm, practically dragging me to the living room.

  He didn’t let go of me while he shook his other hand toward the front entrance. I could already feel I was going to have a bruise where his fingers were digging into my skin.

  “They were here last night!” he screamed as if I wasn’t right beside him. “I put them on the table, and now they are gone! I am late; I need to get to work!” He suddenly slammed his gaze into mine and looked at me questioningly, like I knew what the heck he was talking about.

  “Wh...What are you talking about?”

  “My keys, stupid, look for them, now!” He pushed me aside and started tearing through the couch.

  I instinctively held my arm and tried to massage out the hurt from where he grabbed me. I knew that I had to find his keys or my bruises would get worse. I didn’t want to find out how much worse. My heart skipped a beat at the realization, and I suddenly went frantic looking for the lost keys.

  Not even two minutes later, I sighed with huge relief as I found them on the floor behind the table. They must have fallen off at some point. I had to wonder how he wasn’t able to find them there—wouldn’t that be the obvious place to look? I shook my head, as he was in the kitchen looking through the cabinets, because yeah — that’s where his keys would be. I rolled my eyes, put them on the table, and said, “Found them. They fell on the floor.” I quickly made my way back to the bathroom.

  I heard him grab his keys and slam the front door as he walked out. I had been holding my breath and let it out as I listened to his car leave the driveway.

  I put my hand over my heart, trying to calm myself down. It felt like it was beating a million beats a minute. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and slowly exhaled before starting to get ready for school.

  The feeling I got when I approached the school about thirty minutes later was pretty much the same as yesterday—dismal. As I opened my locker, I took my jacket off and hung it on the hook. I pulled down the long sleeves of my black sweater, making sure no bruises from this morning were showing. I gently rubbed my arm and winced as it hurt to the touch.

  As I tried to rid my mind of him, I closed my locker with way more force then I intended. Suddenly, an arm was around my shoulders for the second day in a row, and a familiar voice flittered into my ears. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Rydan this time. I heard a rumor Liam Pierce had returned, but up until now completely forgot. Sigh. Here we go again.

  “Ahhh, Nari. Long time no see. Did you miss me?” said the guy who had been practically stalking me since I met him.

  I pushed his arm off, saying, “Oh yes, I lie awake every night, hoping and wishing for your speedy return. What are you doing here anyway?” I already knew, but felt like asking him myself.

  “I knew it. You want me,” he replied, winking.

  Rolling my eyes and sighing, I crossed my arms and waited for a serious answer. I was in no mood for his fawning over me.

  “Alright, alright, crabby pants, take a chill pill will you?” he said while holding his hands up and smirking. “We moved back this summer. All joking aside, I really did miss you, Nari.” He gently reached out to put a hand on my arm—the one that was bruised—but I flinched and pulled away.

  A look of hurt crossed his face, but he quickly recovered.

  Feeling guilty, I replied, “Thanks, Liam. That’s really nice. I’m sorry I’m being such a jerk. I’ve just had a bad morning.” Looking down, I kicked my foot against the floor. This was so embarrassing. “I …well…it’s nice to see you too.” I looked up and forced a smile. I didn’t want anyone to hate me. I should have been nice. I was nice. I sighed again out loud, hoping I didn’t offend him too badly.

  “You can make it up to me. Go out with me tonight.”

  Oh yeah, that was right. This was why I wasn't always nice to him. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. All through eighth grade, he wouldn’t leave me alone, always trying to get me to go out with him. He was literally the only person besides Rydan that would talk to me, but it felt more like teasing than anything. It was never in a way that made me want to be friends with him, and I didn’t trust he had good intentions either. I was just waiting for it to be a trick so he and all his friends could laugh at me some more. Thankfully, he moved right before the school year ended, giving me some peace from his constant not-so-subtle "invitations," but rumor had it that his family returned. I knew this moment was going to come…

  “Liam—” but before I could finish, he cut me off.

  “Nari, come on. Stop saying no. Just give in already! You know you want to,” he said again with that side smirk and golden brown hair falling over his eyes. I could see that his appearance had changed a lot since last time I saw him. He was not bad looking; he was actually attractive – he grew muscles. Big ones. But…no. I was against boys. I swore off all men a long time ago when I was little. To me, none of them could be trusted.

  “I’m really sorry, and I really do appreciate the offer. I just…can’t,” I said to him.

  “Why?”

  “Hey, girl!” Zaylie chimed in then. Saved by the Blonde!

  “Oh, Zaylie, hey…” Thank goodness…I wanted to say out loud, but held back. It wasn’t easy.

  “Who’s this bloke?” she said.

  “Zaylie, this is Liam. Liam, meet Zaylie. She’s new here.”

  “Why do you talk funny?” he said with his eyebrows pulled together.

  “Liam!” I screeched, smacking his arm.

  “Wouldn’t you like to know,” she replied, spinning on her heel and pulling me along with her, leaving Liam to stand there alone.

  “Zaylie, you have no idea how much you saved me back there,” I breathed as we walked together to Literature class. I could get used to this. I hoped it became a routine. It was…nice.

  She chuckled and said, “No prob, babe. What is it with him? He looked…smitten with you.”

  “Ugh, please don’t say that. H
e has been trying to get me to go out with him since the eighth grade. And I don’t trust him for one second.”

  “That bad, huh?” she said as she tightened her blue and green scarf around her neck. It matched perfectly with her outfit of jeans and a green-laced blouse.

  Desperately wanting to change the subject, I touched her scarf. “That is really beautiful. I love the colors.”

  She smiled warmly. “Thanks. My mum got it for me as a surprise this past weekend.”

  “Awww, that’s nice. What was the occasion?” I asked her.

  She looked at me with a strange expression on her face. “No occasion. Just because she wanted to.”

  I looked down at the floor as we continued walking. I forgot what it felt like to have a mother that loved you. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness and longing for Elizabeth, but I was also happy that Zaylie had a mother who loved her.

  Later during Chemistry, I hadn’t noticed I sighed out loud as Zaylie looked my way and whispered, “Are you okay?”

  Just then, Mr. Allen told us to read page thirty-four in our textbooks and perform the outlined lab experiment.

  “Oh yeah, I'm fine.” I smiled. “It’s just been a long day.”

  “Yeah, I hear ya. I can’t wait for school to get out and get some kip.”

  “Um…what’s a kip?” I asked as I opened to chapter two and started going over the directions for the experiment.

  “It’s like a short nap,” she replied with a yawn. “I'm bushed. Was up late last night; couldn’t put down the latest Goodkind book I just bought,” she said, laughing.

  “Terry Goodkind? The Sword of Truth series?” I asked.

  “Yes! Have you read that? I love that series. I saved up to buy all thirteen books, and then just this past weekend I bought the next installment. I'm stoked!”

  “That’s amazing. I don’t know anyone else who has read that series. It’s one of my favorites! I was going to go rent the newest one, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.” I grabbed the vials that we needed and started implementing the experiment.

  “I’d be happy to lend you my copy when I'm done reading. I’ll probably have it done in the next few days.” She was smiling so sweetly. “I’d love to talk about the series with you, too. Des doesn’t understand my obsession for fantasy books, and it would be great to discuss with a fellow reader.”

  “That would be great; I would actually really love that.” I was honestly surprised. I smiled back sweetly and felt relaxed sitting next to her. Zaylie was so nice. We got along great so far, and every time I was around her I could feel us getting closer and closer.

  When Friday finally came, Mr. Allen gave us another experiment to perform, and we continued our conversation on The Sword of Truth series while we worked on the lab assignment.

  “Zedd is my absolute fav!” said Zaylie. “That old man makes me laugh my socks off.”

  “Yes, he’s the best. He is so…peculiar, yet you can’t help but laugh. He truly makes the story…memorable,” I said as we both laughed.

  “My brother Des and I are going to Saucers after school today to grab a bite to eat, if you want to join us. Our mum and dad will be gone till late, so we’re going to grab dinner ourselves, and we’d love your company.”

  “I’d love that,” I told her, and I truly meant it.

  “Ace! Meet you at your locker after school,” she said as the bell rang.

  Once the time came, I thought they wouldn’t show and was surprised when Zaylie and Desmond walked up to me at my locker after school.

  “G’day, mate!” said Desmond as he put an arm around my shoulder. What was it with boys thinking my shoulders were their personal armrests? “I hear you’re joining us for some grub.”

  I laughed as I nodded and said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t want to miss it.” Zaylie rolled her eyes at her brother, and the three of us walked out the door.

  We walked to Saucers, all the while listening to Desmond talk about how horrible it was to sit next to a snobby girl in most of his classes. He went on and on about how this girl and her friends wouldn’t shut up about what color lipstick they were going to wear that night. I laughed inside, knowing exactly who he was talking about—the infamous Sabrina Holloway. I knew how horrible sitting next to her was from past years.

  “How long has your family been in Maine?” I asked as we sat down at a table.

  “We been here for ‘bout a month now,” Zaylie explained. “Before that we were in Massachusetts for about three years, then our dad got stationed here. Hopefully we’ll be here all school year.”

  Their accents intrigued me, and I had to know why it seemed heavier sometimes. “How long has it been since you’ve been back to Australia? Sometimes your accents are lighter.”

  “Yeah, we grew up in Oz, about hundred miles from Sydney, town called Newcastle,” Zaylie clarified. “We left when we were about eleven, when our dad got stationed to different parts of the U.S. We haven’t been back since.”

  She looked at Desmond and continued, “We pretty much lost our thick accents and Aussie slang over the past few years, but every now and then a word slips out.”

  Desmond was looking at the jukebox. “That gizmo over there work?”

  “Yeah, it has oldie classics,” I answered as he got up to look.

  Zaylie leaned in toward me and whispered, “We got teased a lot in school when we first came to America because of our accents. Des got bitter over it at first, but now he likes to purposely use Aussie words to confuse people. He thinks it’s funny.” I had to laugh as she rolled her eyes at Desmond again.

  “I have to admit, I'm confused over some of the things he says, but I love to hear your Australian accent. I can’t believe you actually got teased for it. That's cruel,” I said as I shook my head. Kids could be so mean. I knew from experience.

  “We got over it, no worries.”

  I smiled at her, and Desmond started playing an Elvis Presley song. We sat at the table, eating, talking, laughing, and me feeling completely ecstatic.

 
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