Someone is after me. In each and every moment I cling to the hope I will receive some type of relief from the suspense. If this person wants to destroy me, I wish they’d just do it already. Once all the pieces have fallen I can figure out how to mitigate the damage. Until then, I am a sitting duck just waiting to be shot. It’s scarier knowing the bullet is coming at me because it means there’s a tiny chance the shooter will miss. That little glimpse of hope makes it all the more painful when you discover the executioner has perfect aim.
I am out admittedly out of moves. Left, right, up, down, they all end the same way at this point. Going to the police will cause a release of the video. I can’t tell Evelyn Bellamy. She’s either the culprit or she will lawyer her way out of my employee contract. She can’t be seen hiring someone who stole company information. For the record, I’m still not sure why she couldn’t get the information herself. I can’t tell my parents. They would be so ashamed of me. I cant tell Gen because it will ruin our friendship. Knowing her, she’d call me Evelyn’s puppet and probably want nothing to do with me. I could tell Kris and Dyl, but something is holding me back. I don’t know if it’s lack of trust or what but I can’t bring myself to do it. Besides, I don’t want to drag them down with me. The one person I truly feel like I can trust is all the way in Florida, and the one person I truly think is smart enough to help me come up with a solution isn’t talking to me anymore. I don’t want to bother Claire and I can’t go back to Alicia. She wants nothing to do with me.
It’s fairly obvious this person wants something from me, otherwise they would have gone straight to the police. Maybe they just want to mess with me. Maybe they want to feel they are doling out justice like a vigilante. Either way, once they tell me what they want, I have to make an important decision; should I fight or should I accept the consequences of my actions? I could comply with their demands and let them play me, or I could use whatever information they give me to try and figure out who they are. Every bit of information is a clue and every clue is a step closer. Their demands will have motives which could give me an indication of who they are and how I can manipulate the situation. But none of these possibilities exist yet. I have to wait for their next move.
All these thoughts flicked through my head as I sat on the edge of the mall’s marble fountain, while Kris and Dylan were chatting up the cute guy at the cellphone case stand. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at them over and over, but it’s not like they could tell behind my slick Ray-bans.
Yes, I was being that person today, wearing my sunglasses inside. Aside from the lack of sleep and stress I wished to cover it was intensely bright today. Even inside, I couldn’t escape the blinding daylight that poured through the glass windows that coated the mall’s roof. It reflected harshly off the white-tiled floors, the decorative fountain, the water, and the various coin people had tossed into the fountain. I wanted to draw a giant curtain over the entire scene just for some shade. There’s a certain security about being able to relax in the shadows, but out in the light, every detail shows.
“Let’s get back to business, ladies!” I popped up from my seat, “we still have outfits to find, remember?”
Hopefully I would make it to the August White Party. Only God knows.
“Nice to meet you,” Dylan said. Kristen smiled intensely the guy.
“Oh my god he’s so cute,” Dylan gushed as we walked away.
“Yeah… for guy that works at a cellphone case store. Aim higher, ladies,” I said.
“What’s wrong with a little summer fun?” Kristen giggled, “I work with obnoxious brats all day and when I get off work I could use a little-“
“Ok too much information!” I interjected.
“You’re such a prude,” Kristen replied. We walked into Nordstrom.
“I have standards,” I replied.
“Massie, you’re like a picky eater but with men,” Dylan replied.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I held my head up high, “I don’t have time for bullshit.”
We all stopped in our tracks.
“Speaking of bull,” Kris said. From across the store we could see Alicia with a tag-along friend. I recognized her from Exude.
“Maybe we should come back later,” I said nervously.
“Seriously?” Dylan said. I looked at both Kristen and Dylan who seemed appalled by my apparent cowardice. I wanted to run but I didn’t have a choice. As much as I don’t like to admit it, Kristen and Dylan are followers. They can exist on their own of course, but they feel more comfortable with someone else calling the shots. If I show that I’m afraid of Alicia they’re going to question their decision to stand by my side.
“I meant that I don’t want them to try and copy us,” the lie came out of my mouth faster than a bullet. They nodded in agreement but it was too late, we’d been spotted and Alicia made a Beta-line right for us, her rude little friend in tow.
“Wow it’s a backstabber convention here,” she said. Obviously she was hurt from Kristen and Dylan cutting her off. But now wasn’t the time for sympathy. Her rude friend crossed her arms as a smug little grin formed across her face.
“Funny, because you threw the first knife,” I snapped back.
“Hmm. I think it’s cute you’re going to the white party considering everyone from Exude will be there. How will you face the shame?” she said.
“The only thing I have to be ashamed about is once being friends with someone who thinks those shoes go with that dress.” I pointed to her outfit. I could tell she was trying to experiment with her look a little more. It was a cheap shot but I took it anyway.
“You’re just bitter, chica,” she replied.
“Hey, you came up to us, chica,” I said mockingly.
“I just wanted to show my friend what real garbage looks like,” she said.
“Big talk coming from a coffee-gopher. Come at me when you get a real internship,” I snapped.
“At least I have-” she started.
“Stop showing off, there’s nothing for you here,” I cut her off.
“You’re right. I’ve moved on to better more fulfilling thing-“
“Blah blah blah,” I motioned with my hand. Kristen and Dylan laughed uncontrollably.
Alicia rolled her eyes and stormed off, while her rude friend mustered a middle finger and an icy stare. I simply blew them a kiss goodbye. It was over. I won. At least for now. Normally I would stand there relishing in my victory, but if there was anything I knew from the past, it’s that things never end the way you want them too. There are no winners or losers; there are only added layers of mistrust and animosity between two people who used to be friends.
“Massie? Massie?” Kristen nudged me. I had zoned out.
“Hmm?” I snapped back into the moment.
“How lame was that?” Dylan said.
“Like a reject script from Gossip Girl,” Kristen giggled.
“And a waste of time. Remember that thing called shopping?” I interjected.
“Oh my god: shopping!” it was the voice of a stranger. He walked past us and towards the exit.
“Mind your business!” I called out. The guy only peaked around his should to flash a grin. Snarky bastard.
“Who was that Mass?” Kristen inquired.
“I have no idea,” I shrugged.
“He was cute,” Dylan said.
“Ugh enough about boys,” I replied. They both just rolled their eyes.
“Ohhh look at those shoes!” Dylan rushed to a pair of gorgeous satin pumps, and so our shopping adventure began. But I didn’t relax. I faked it as much as possible, but there was never a moment I didn’t replay the confrontation in my head. It blurred together with my stalker and ate at me all day. I feel like I’m standing on a rotting pedestal, with snakes and spiders nipping at me feet, one by one making their way up a little higher. I’m supposed to be the alpha, the queen. I’m supposed to have it all together. Right now I am just a fraud and effectively a criminal. I’ve learned nothing and the consequences could be severe this time.
“Please God,” I thought, “just let me make it out of this one.”
My word is my Bond,
A/N: A big screw you to Photobucket for messing up all my pictures.
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