C3 Chapter 03
Someone calls security, and shortly after that we are kicked out of the canteen. I’m fuming, and my heart pounds in my chest like I’m about to have a heart attack. Sam won’t get away with that comment, but then my own arrogance tells me that it’s all my fault. I’m the one that came up with this pathetic idea in the beginning of the year. The snickers and whispers don’t stop until Ja-cob and I step outside. He will have a black eye tomorrow, and my abdominal muscles are aching like hell.
“I value our friendship, but you’re ruining everything, man! Even with India’s shitty past, she didn’t deserve it. Just stay away from her from now on.”
I have nothing to say to him, so I walk away trying to clear my head, feeling like this old wound from the past is slowly opening up. I skip the rest of my classes, knowing that I have to start controlling my temper. The fighting won’t get me anywhere. In my mind I can only see In-dia’s eyes filled with hate and raging pain. Jacob doesn’t get what’s going on, but he is right. If I could overlook what happened between her and Christian at that party, then I could move past my desire for revenge.
I slam the door loudly when I get back to the house. I can’t even think about the rugby train-ing that starts in a few hours. My head is filled with nasty shit: rumours and the memories from high school about what kind of loser I used to be. Christian and I both saw India during our first day at school. He didn’t even like her, but he noticed that I did, so he made sure that she would be his, just in case I was looking for happiness. I was too scared to do anything.
Pacing around the living room, I notice the post on the table. Probably my other housemate picked it up earlier on. Bills, bills and more junk mail. My head starts spinning when I think about fucking Christian and the way he took India away from me. Then I spot a thick letter addressed to me with beautiful handwriting that I recognise straight away. I scratch my head, tear the envelope apart and start reading India’s letter to me.
I know you didn’t expect to hear from me, but please just give me a chance and stay until the end. I know I made your life very difficult when I was in Gargle, but now it’s the right time to ex-plain…
I continue reading until I get to the end. I kneel on the floor slowly, trembling, still holding the letter in my hand. I already know what I’ll find in the next letter, but this can’t be the truth. It’s too much, too poisonous. Fate cannot be that cruel. My lesson cannot be that harsh.
With a deep breath I tear open the second envelope. My heart starts jackhammering in my chest when I combine all of India’s words. Letters begin to spin all over the white paper; halfway through I have to stop because I can’t catch my breath. I have to stop reading.
This is a joke. No, no, no, he didn’t …
I try to take some oxygen in, but my lungs feel stretched and swollen. The blackness spreads all over my body, kicking in anxiety and panic. Every bit of food that I consumed today is coming back and I’m going to be sick. My older brother, the golden boy, couldn’t have done this. He was selfish, needy, but he couldn’t have violated her with such cruelty, marking the last piece of him-self within her?
I rub my hands over my face, trying to take a few breaths, but the oxygen doesn’t reach any part of my body any longer. Raw, terrorising memories slide in front of my eyes from that day when I was supposed to be there for her. With trembling hands I look at the date. She sent these letters last week, knowing that I was planning something special this weekend. India was looking for closure; she wanted to move away from the past.
Oh God! What the hell have I done? She mentioned the letters during dinner because she thought that I finally let it go.
I breathe through my nose as the room starts shrinking. I go over the past, bringing back the moment when Christian noticed India, and my brain feels too big for my head. The realisation slams into me so hard that it knocks back any air that is left in my lungs. My fucked-up brother planned all these things from the moment I laid my eyes on her.
With panting breaths I lift myself off the floor and reach for the second letter. Cold sweat runs over my back as I pinch my eyebrows together. Blackness obscures my vision, but I read on. Every inch of me screams to stop, but I force myself to understand the pain that India had to go through, word by word and sentence by sentence. The second part is the worst and I try to hold on to the tears, swallowing the vile taste in my mouth. I don’t want to cry, but India’s pain pierces my skin, as if I’m standing next to Christian when he is hurting her.
This time he didn’t let me finish, because he hit me. The shock came after. I must have blacked out for a moment or so. A soaring pain stabbed me right between my eyes. I tasted blood in my mouth. I blinked twice and saw Christian standing by me, and I was lying on the bed. I tried to move, but after a moment I realised I was chained to the bedframe by handcuffs. My head spun and terror rolled over me like a tennis ball.
I close my eyes, imagining what I’d do to Christian if he were still alive. Now I’m aware that she tried to tell me about this before, but I was too stupid to listen, too caught up with revenge to comprehend what she went through. After years of agony, secrets and lies, I get it. I understand why she turned on me, why she bullied me.
My whole world starts to crumble piece by piece. When I was imagining our future together, I never expected she would be carrying such a deep secret. In the restaurant she confessed her love for me. She was sure that I let go of my grudge. Then I was supposed to find her letters. Instead, I ruined her plan and stabbed her right in the chest. I didn’t understand the extent of my own feel-ings, so I trashed hers away.
I clench my fists while panting loudly, but there is no air and the truth of it is suffocating me. She tried to move on, to apologise to me, but I was too thick, caught up too much with myself to see that there was always a reason.
Now I see that she has changed so much over the years. She hated me in high school and came here expecting to forget about the past, but then I ruined her plans. Despite what happened between us in Gargle, India still tried to apologise, explain her actions to me for the whole semes-ter. I was so pissed off with her, so angry that she came here expecting acceptance, that I didn’t see how much she’d transformed. The idea of revenge blinded me and I was too cocky, too imma-ture to see what kind of woman I had in front of me.
When I drag myself back to my room, I want to trash everything in front of me. Instead, I slam my bare fists into the wall harder than I should, until I can’t feel anything at all. I don’t regis-ter any pain. The vile feeling in my chest moves down to my gut, but I keep going, hurting myself.
That fucking psycho never had slept with her; that’s why over the years he was shagging other girls. India had never wanted to give herself to him. In the end he got tired of waiting, so he raped her. He knew that she was slipping away and he knew that I was still a threat.
My mother created a monster, a person who was capable of the worst possible violation. In-dia was a virgin and he broke her, ruined her future forever. My fists are bleeding, but I don’t feel anything, just numbness and that hollow feeling in my gut that only keeps spreading and punching me back. I want to run to her and take her in my arms, but I know that I can’t. She needs to keep away from me.
A few nights ago she thought that we could be happy, but as soon as his name passed through her lips, fury and pride overwhelmed me.
“Oliver, what the hell happened to your hands?” asks my housemate, staring at the blood that drips on the floor. My breathing is shallow and I have no idea if I’m dreaming or if this is re-ally my shitty life. The ground underneath my feet is moving. My dead, fucking, psycho-brother is dragging me down. My head is spinning and I can’t seem to pull myself together.
“Shut up, Jhonny, I’m fine. Leave me be,” I mutter, passing him and heading upstairs. The letters are still in my hands and I feel like I’m dead. Christian was a psycho, but I never in a mil-lion years expected him to do something so tainted and terrible. I pace in the living room for sev-eral minutes and read the letters again, sobbing for the first time in years, remembering the past.
It’s Christian’s going away party. Was tonight going to be the night when I’d tell him that India was no longer his? I have tolerated him since our arrival to Gargle, because of my mother and father, but enough was enough.
My mother had been running around my brother like a headless chicken, making sure that everything was ready for today. Her golden boy was finally leaving this shitty town and heading into the big, ugly world. Christian expected India to be with him, even if he wasn’t in Gargle any-more. He only kept her as his trophy to show me that she chose him, but at the end of the day, he had sex with anything that would show him attention. He thought that I had no idea. After all, I was just his weird younger brother that everyone felt sorry for.
From about age thirteen, I decided to be different and pull away from that perfect family they pretended to be. My mother was going through a bad phase, hadn’t been taking her meds, and Dad couldn’t be bothered to take time off from work to check on her. She kept trashing the house every once in a while. My perfect brother pretended that nothing was happening. Whatever! He made her go off her rocker. She verbally abused me, saying that I shouldn’t have been born and it was all my fault Dad didn’t want to be at home. From then on I pulled myself inside my own co-coon, staying away from him. My brother had the girl that I desired and the attention from the whole school.
The last night India came to see me, and we both dropped all pretences. We had been cir-cling around each other for a long time. Mum had been running like crazy and Dad wasn’t plan-ning to show at all. As usual, he was in one of those meetings. Christian had been walking around the house, pointing at the decorations. I was planning to go for a walk, just to avoid seeing him until later. I sort of got used to the fact that he always got what he wanted and most of the time I moved out of his way, but from tomorrow on this was going to be over.
“Olie, make yourself useful and grab me some plastic glasses from the garage,” Mum or-dered when I walked to the kitchen. Christian was using his iPhone, not doing much at all. I used to go through anger phases, but I quickly learnt that this wasn’t getting me anywhere, so instead of fighting with her, I obeyed. I wasn’t ready for a full-blown argument.
For the rest of the afternoon I kept running around the house while Christian chilled in the living room, laughing at some reality TV show. Close to six, I was planning to sneak upstairs and change, but Christian caught me by the stairs. All the girls were crushing on him and he didn’t discourage them. He was a good-looking bloke after all, but I wanted him to have more respect for India.
“Hey, bro,” he began, smirking, while I tried to pass him on the stairs. “It’s going to be an epic party.”
I didn’t respond, measuring him up and down, wondering if I should tell him then. It pissed me off that he had that arrogant smile on his face, like he didn’t have to obey any rules.
“You should pick up some birds tonight, before all the good ones are taken.”
“I’m fine, but I’m kind of busy,” I said. He put his hand on my shoulder, narrowing his eyes on me with an irritated frown.
“Listen, I need a massive favour. Bryan and a few others are picking up some buzz, and I need you to give them a hand.”
We both were the same height, but he was built like a typical rugby player.
“I’m busy. Why don’t you get it yourself?” I asked, my muscles tensing. I wanted to drag his hand away from my shoulder, but he leaned over.
“Mum is going to pull some other shit for you to do if you keep hiding upstairs and I need to meet someone to sort some weed for later. Come on man, we should stick together. I’ll owe you one?”
People normally did what Christian wanted them to do and I had to keep him on a leash until this evening because of India. He didn’t have to sort anything out. He could have weed delivered to the house later. I wasn’t planning to go anywhere, but I knew that he would make me do it either way.
“Where are they?”
“Here is the address. Bryan’s mate is getting quite a lot of stuff and I need someone to help them out,” Christian muttered, passing me a note with the address.
I knew the area. Mum was leaving town until tomorrow. She hated when any of us got high, so he had to be careful around her, and that was the only thing that Christian couldn’t get away with.
“Okay, fine, but don’t expect me to cover for you if Mum catches me. You know that she will go mental,” I said, annoyed with myself for agreeing. It was his party and in a few hours I was planning to tell him that India was breaking up with him for me. I wanted to see his face and enjoy the misery and the fact that he was going away to University without her.
He patted me on the back, smiling.
“She won’t. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure of that.”
He let me use his car, which he never normally did, but I just wanted to get it over with. There were a few places in Gargle where I didn’t like to hang around, and the address that Chris-tian gave me was one of those places. Christian knew people that could get him a lot of buzz and drugs. It was his party and he wanted to get people high. He was going to do anything to play a cool guy.
My seventeenth birthday was coming up, but I wasn’t expecting much. My father was prob-ably going to be away. I had no idea why my father kept frowning every time he laid his eyes on me. Clearly I wasn’t supposed to have been born.
The drive to the outskirts of Gargle wasn’t long. It was warm and Christian didn’t even give me a chance to change. Sweat was running down my back when I parked his BMW outside some wrecked, one-story abandoned building. He was probably planning to keep all the alcohol and weed in the car until Mum left.
Bryan showed fifteen minutes later with Roger and Colin. They were all Christian’s best ma-tes.
“What’s up, Olie? Finally going to fuck someone tonight?” Bryan was laughing over his pa-thetic joke.
“Spare me, Crocke. Show me the buzz and I’m out of here,” I snapped, shoving my hands in my pockets. Bryan spit on the ground while Roger and Colin laughed.
“All right, all right, princess. We have plenty of time. Can’t fucking wait to get smashed? Now, that your bro is leaving and all the girls will be rolling under my feet,” added Bryan licking his lips. “Maybe I’ll even fuck the forbidden fruit.”
I clenched my fists, walking inside the building. Bryan was just a horny asshole. India would never have set her eyes on a scumbag like him. I desperately wanted to remove that smile from his face. Four of us went inside the old abandoned building. Some guys that Christian paid were prob-ably going to show up with the buzz and something much stronger. He wouldn’t have sent me here just to get alcohol.
Roger shut the door behind him, while I started thinking about last night, having India in my bed. It was bliss and my dick hadn’t stopped twitching since. She was perfect and she was going to be mine this evening.
“How long do we have to hang around here?” I asked.
Bryan was smoking, inhaling smoke deep into his lungs, before he threw the cigarette on the ground. “Tell me something, princess. You like Gretel, don’t ya? You think she’s hot?” he asked.
I looked at him for several seconds, not responding. “Yeah, she’s all right. What’s that have to do with the buzz?”
“Everything, princess, and for your information, the party is off-limits for you.”
I didn’t see Roger, who came from behind me, and I didn’t see him throwing the punch. Be-fore I could process what was going on I was on the floor, disoriented. Bryan kicked me in the stomach. I lost my breath for a long moment, pain shooting right through me.
“As I told ya, princess, you’re going to stay here until you forget about that bitch. Remem-ber, Christian is the God, you’re just the loser.”
They locked the door, leaving me on the floor, gasping for breath, moaning while I tried to get back on my feet. I started picturing my brother laughing about the incident later on, letting me know that he knew all along what I’d been up to. My mind started racing. Christian planned all this. Finally everything slowly began to make sense. In some ways, he suspected that India was drifting away.
I heard their laughter outside when I got up. My stomach ached, but I managed to get to the door. They had locked me in from the outside and I slowly began to realise that there wasn’t any other way out of here. I had to give it to him; he wanted to get rid of me so he could change India’s mind.
I slammed my fists on the metal door. Aware that I’ve been played with.
“Don’t worry, princess, someone will let you out in the morning,” Bryan snarled. “When the party is over.”
“Tell him that he can go and fuck himself. India is mine, she always was and she always will be!”
I had no idea if they heard me because a few moments later I heard the engine running and they were driving away. Breathing hard, I started searching for a way out, moving around the old building, knowing that he was winning again. He knew what I was up to all along and he made sure that I would never go ahead with my master plan.
At that point I wanted him dead, truly and utterly dead. It turned out that I got what I wanted in the end, but it was all too late.