A love she would die for.
THE BLIGHTED THRONE
It all started in a small, boring town with boring people and their uneventful lives. Quaint houses sit peacefully in precise rows that all look the same with expensive cars in the long driveways. A historic town center that looks like any countless other found around the country. A devoted mother and father sit comfortably at the kitchen table, looking like they could be on a TV sitcom and a younger sister with her sun-bleached hair up in pigtails, playing with her Barbies. An 18-year-old girl looking in the hall mirror, her brunette hair in two tight braids that hang to her slim shoulders, a baby blue halter dress clings to her body. Nothing standing in her way, not a single care in the world.
I wish, I heartily wish I had that simple of a life.
Instead, I live in a sizable rotting city with my quirky mother and father and my Abercrombie little sister. My parents met in high school and instantly fell passionately in love, they've told me the story over and over again.
"Your mother moved to the town in sophomore year and she was the most attractive girl I ever set my eyes on. Her hair was always up in a bun, I always loved how red she would dye it. I finally got the courage to talk to her, and we both just clicked. We became inseparable after that. We found out we were pregnant with you unexpectedly when we were in junior year." They say they conceived me on accident at a party. "We wouldn't change it for the world." They always tell me.
They had to grow up extremely fast, but they didn't give up on their dreams. My mother now is a chief editor at a significant book publishing company, and my father is a computer technician.
I enjoyed life as an only child, constantly having both my parent's attention all the time, going on trips out of state every summer.
They gleefully announced they were expecting my sister, Kari when I was five. I was excited, at first. The excitement faded as the years passed and the trips dwindled and their attention had to spread out to two children. Kari was a screaming obnoxious child, always throwing temper tantrums. The temper tantrums now have turned into gaudy pink clothes and fake nails.
I shift uneasily, the ordinary image fades away revealing the real world, the real me. My chocolate eyes fixated on myself in the mirror.
I sigh contentedly, looking deeply into the mirror. My pin straight, mid-back length black hair frames my fragile face, gloomy shadow, liner, and lips contrast my stark pale complexion. I gently run my dainty hands over my Lacuna Coil shirt, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles. Black shorts with fishnets cling to my curved legs, black knee-high Doc Martens complete my outfit.
My attention fades away from my image and focus in on my mother; she sits peacefully at the kitchen table, a glossy magazine in one hand and a cup of organic tea grasped in the other. Her fire engine red hair up in a loose bun, a crimson tank top and black jeans cling to her teenage looking figure. She practically wears too many necklaces around her sleek neck and makeup that screams "early 2000s".
She glances eagerly at me over her magazine, "You look nice."
"Thanks," I smirk slightly.
"What did I tell you about taking your mother's shirts?" my father comes up from behind me, tousling my sleek hair as he walks by.
"This one's mine," I grumble, tidying my hair.
"I'm just playing around, Win," he says gently, carefully tucking a strand of his jet-black hair behind his ear. "Are you excited for your first day?"
"A little nervous," I say with a grin.
"You'll do great," my father says soothingly.
"Helga is having me stay late tonight, so you have to pick your sister up from Jess's around five," my mother says, gently patting her beat-up black bag which contains her editor copy of Changing A Storm. "We've almost completed the final edit."
"Alright, I don't mind. I just don't want to deal with her begging me to buy her every little thing she sees in those makeup stores."
"You have been gone most of the summer so you haven't seen her, she's over that phase," my father states grabbing a water bottle out of the fridge. "Now she wants to be just like her big sister."
"That's terrifying," I freeze as I scarcely imagine a miniature me running around the house, quoting lines from The Blight since that's the only movie she's ever watched with me and complained the whole time.
"I better get this run in before I lose the motivation," my father says eagerly with a chuckle.
"Check the hall closet before you leave, Winter," my mother says smilingly and shares an affectionate hug with my father.
"Okay..." I say, hopelessly confused as I reach for the silver knob. I pull the door open with an audible creak, revealing a small black box with a shimmering gold bow around it sitting on a folding chair.
I gaze back at my parents, utterly puzzled. My father nods and mother gestures for me to open it.
I carefully pick up the box and tug on the elaborate bow which comes off with ease, the top pops open next. What's inside is a beautiful black, jewel-encrusted choker with a small crimson bat charm dangling from the center.
"We wanted to get you something for your first day to show you how proud we are of you," my mother gushes, walking over to me to help me put it on.
"I love it," I beam, promptly giving them both enormous hugs.
"Now get going," my father chuckles.
"I love you!" I call as I run eagerly to the front door, I grab my purse before swinging open the front door.
The sudden bright sunlight makes me blink for a few seconds as I stand on the porch. The city now stands before me, the noise from the traffic and pedestrians fills my ears to the point where I'm almost unable to hear myself think. A pungent odor that reeks of stale beer and gasoline surrounds me as I make my way down street after street, getting deeper into the better part of the city. I stand outside a brown colored apartment building two blocks away from the college.
I type quickly, hitting send on my cell phone before shoving it back into my purse. A minute goes by and the long wooden door slides open and out comes Chloe, my best friend and partner in crime.
Chloe has been undoubtedly my most beloved friend since she moved to the city about six years ago. She was the most petite girl in our class and would get pushed around by the other, more popular girls, I was one of the only ones that would stick up for her. One day it escalated to the point where she was tripped in the hallway, fracturing her wrist from the fall. Needless to say, no one messed with our group after Lizzie and I, mostly Lizzie took down the group of giggling twats who did it to her. After that day we adopted her into our group of social misfits and we couldn't be happier.
Her perfect orchid shoulder-length hair shines fiercely in the morning sun as she runs up to me.
"I missed you so much!" she shrieks, flinging her arms around me standing on the tips of her toes as she does. She lets go of me, her copper brown eyes glimmer before she shifts her eyes away from me and heads down the pathway to the sidewalk. We weave in and out of traffic as we cross the street, heading to the college.
"How was your trip?"
"It was great! My aunt Natalie took me to so many plays, and we went to The Museum of Modern Art. I honestly didn't want to leave."
"I don't blame you," she giggles. "How was the plane ride?"
"Absolutely terrible," I exclaim. "You know I hate heights. I was shaking the whole time. It's got to the paint where the lady next to me asked if I wanted one of her Xanax."
"Did you take it?" Chloe laughs.
"I should have!"
"Well, I'm glad you came back in one piece."
"It was a really fun time," I say eagerly. "I want to go back soon...without the plane ride."
"I believe it," she laughs joyously. Her mood quickly turns. "Where's Eric? I thought he said in group chat he was going to walk with us."
"Oh, you know him, can never keep to his word. He probably won't even show up today."
"When's the last time you talked to him?"
"A few days ago, we got into an argument about my trip, and he hasn't talked to me since," I murmur, gazing down at my feet as we wait at the marked crosswalk.
don't know why you put up with it," she
scoffs. "I sure as hell wouldn't."
"Half of the time I don't know why either," I shrug as the light signals us to cross. "I guess I just love him...:
Eric my boyfriend of about a year, the prickly thorn in my side yet at the same time my...sweetheart. We met at the beginning of school last year. Chloe is convinced, it's only his looks that drew me in, I deny this every time but nobody can deny his good looks, his silky shoulder-length black hair perfectly frames his thin pale face, perfect ice blue eyes and his body, sculpturesque to say the least. He drew me in with his charm, the way he talked, made me feel amazing about myself. Then came the telling me what to do and who I could hang out with and when and where.
She makes a repulsed sound and gently nudges me in the side, "Why can't you love some other guy?"
"Yeah, like anyone else is even into me that's remotely attractive."
"Don't give me that! Let's see. There's Clay. That really cute guy with the blue and green hair, I forget his name. Oliver, from science last year."
"Okay, okay. I get your point," I giggle, interrupting. "They probably have moved since graduation."
"Oh, this guy moved here during the summer. Kind of cute, more your type," she explains as we lazily walk through a side door of the college. "He's been hanging around Shattered a lot. So, you know he's at least 18."
I let out a small shriek, "I cannot wait to go to Shattered tonight, I miss their Duchess Potion. It's literally to die for."
We stop in the student center where we planned to meet our friends. I set my bag down on a black chair next to a now sitting Chole.
I see a pastel pink colored head darting through a small crowd toward us. Lizzie emerges behind a hulking guy. She smiles from ear to ear; her emerald eyes glisten as if she hasn't seen me in years.
Lizzie, the once fierce fighter in school; who would consistently get herself suspended has now become the pastel queen of her dreams. She and I have been friends ever since elementary school, sharing dolls that we colored the blonde hair black and drew heavy dark makeup on, dual birthday parties since we had birthdays 3 days apart. She's one of the sweetest girls I know, but don't get on her bad side.
"I missed you!" she exclaims joyfully, throwing her arms around my neck.
"I missed you too," I smile and pull away. "Your hair looks even more gorgeous in person." I fluff her lovely waved pink hair, it perfectly frames her pale heart-shaped face.
"Hi babe," Chole glows brilliantly, standing up to meet a waiting Lizzie's eager arms.
"Y'all are so cute," I smirk.
Chole promptly sends me a sideways glare.
Chloe has had the hugest crush on Lizzie since high school but she believes even if Lizzie liked girls, she would be too 'brainy' for Lizzie.
I sit down next to my purse and begin to carefully survey the vast room as the two girls chat. Small groups of students are scattered around the decorated room, some sitting snugly in plush chairs like us, some heading to their classes. Fortunately, our first class doesn't start for another hour. We were lucky enough to get some of the same classes together.
A long-legged, slim blond-haired girl wearing thick pink heals passes us gripping onto a Starbucks cup.
I look over at Lizzie who spots the cup, she springs up out of her seat, "We have to go! I forgot they had Starbucks on campus."
She instantly pulls Chole and me along with her.
We make it to the Starbucks next to the cafeteria, I order my regular, a mango dragon fruit lemonade.
The other two order coffees, Chole eyes my drink suspiciously.
"I already drank like 2 energy drinks before I left the house."
She nods as she sips on her drink, she begins to nudge my arm frantically and points in the direction of a talking group of students.
"That's the new guy I was talking about. Isn't he cute?" A tall thin guy emerges from behind the group. He sports clothes that are far too warm for this weather, a loose-fitting navy-blue shirt and black slim jeans hang on his thin frame with a black leather jacket pulling it all together. His shoulder length silvery blonde dreads are tied back away from his face, two cherry-red spiral tattoos on both sides of his head show through the lowly shaved sides. His face looks gloomy and void of all cheerful emotions. Piercings, piercings are my weakness and he has some, 2 hoops in his left eyebrow and his labret.
My heart starts to race as his eyes instantly find mine; crimson eyes. I nonchalantly look elsewhere, cheeks becoming hot and my heart skipping a beat.
"He's alright, I guess," I whisper, lying. "He does have cool contacts, though." I note him smirk subtly before disappearing from sight.
"I want ones to match my hair," Lizzie perks up.
We end up back in the student center where more people have gathered. We sit comfortably in a private corner away from the gentle murmur of cheerful voices.
"Hi," Lizzie jumps up out of her seat and swings her arms around Blake, a 6-foot 3 mass of nothing but skin and visible bones.
Eric walks up behind Blake; a faint smile appears on my face. I feel Chloe tense up as I give him a hug.
"Hi babe," he gives me a kiss. The terrible smell of alcohol penetrates my nose.
"I thought you quit drinking in the morning," I whisper tensely.
"It was only a drink, I'm just really stressed," he brushes it off.
"We got to go, it's almost time for class," Blake says fiercely, motioning to Eric.
"Alright, I'll see you," he says, giving me one more kiss before they leave to the lecture hall.
My heart feels brutally crushed. The lies, when do they stop? My stomach turns as I think about the fight we got into, how he got furious when I told him my trip was extended another day, how he screamed at me for "not thinking of his feelings about me being away.".
I can feel Chloe's emotions right now, how much she bitterly hates him, hates the way he treats me. She doesn't even have to speak; I know what she wants to say but doesn't, "He's no good, leave him." Or "You deserve better!"
Maybe she's right, maybe I should find someone else...
I solemnly shake the negative feeling away.
How could I throw away a year? I can't, I won't. Things have to get better.
I look up, trying to force myself to stay positive. I encounter a newly familiar gaze with hauntingly crimson eyes. He sits a few chairs away, his face sullen, yet still peaceful. His flawless skin is pale and smooth, he bears a beautifully chiseled face with one minor imperfection in sight, his eyes are sunken in as if he hasn't slept in days. He looks like an eternal god to me. His gaze drifts away from mine, down to the phone in his hand.
"Can we pick your jaw up off the floor?" Chloe giggles delightfully, tapping my chin. My matte lips were parted slightly in generous awe. My face flushes and I shoo her hand away.
I promptly shut my mouth and clear my throat, "I don't know what you're talking about."
she smirks, looking eagerly behind her at him. He sits
uncomfortably motionless now, his eyes glued to
I lean against the metal fence that surrounds Kari's best friend Jess's house and text her that I'm outside and in a hurry.
Within seconds of me hitting send, Kari pokes her head out of her friend's second story bedroom, "I'll be right out!"
Her once bleach blonde hair is now black, tied back in a tight ponytail and she spots heavy black eyeshadow and liner.
"Oh no..." I swallow hard, not wanting to see the rest of her.
After a few moments, the front door of the house carefully opens and out walks my little sister, now a spitting image of me.
She walks up to me gleeful; I look fearfully down at her.
"I feel like I'm looking at 13-year-old me," I mutter.
"Come on, it's not that bad," she glances anxiously at her black on black outfit. "I like it."
It was worse than I had imagined, my sister is now my mini-me... Where bright clothing once was, was one of my old black band tee shirts with a long sleeve fishnet top underneath and skinny jeans with chunky black shoes and her pink nails now covered in chipped black paint.
I stare at her for a moment, her sparkling brown eyes glistening, a smile from ear to ear, she looks genuinely content. My mood calms. Maybe this is the starting point of us actually getting along. Maybe this is a good change.
I laugh gently and pat her on the head, "alright, it's not that bad. It's just a shock."
"You'll warm up to it. So, how was college?"
"It was okay, just went over what we need, like books and whatnot. It was really short."
"Did you see Eric?" she says disgustedly.
"Yeah... For like a minute," I sigh sadly, my mind flickering back to that moment in the student center, the distinct smell of alcohol wafting off his ragged breath. Two crimson eyes staring longingly at me...
"Mom and dad don't like him, you know."
"I know..." No one typically does, with good reason.
She instantly sees the genuine sadness in my anxious eyes. She shifts the conversation quickly, "Did you meet any cool people?"
"A couple of girls were super nice in my English class. I think Chloe added them into that little group chat we have going. This one guy was flirting with Lizzie super hard and Chloe was getting really jealous," I smile gently while thinking about how red Chloe got.
A delighted Kari giggles, "And Lizzie was probably feeding right into the guy, oblivious to Chloe's love for her."
"Yes, exactly," I chuckle. "Oh, and I didn't exactly meet him but there was this guy with extremely cool red contacts. I want to get some."
"That's awesome. I think you should get some black out ones like the guy from The Blight had when he turned into the monster near the end," she says.
I smile down at her, genuinely surprised, "that would be awesome."
I'm actually warming up to the idea of Kari wanting to be like me, maybe now I'll actually get her to want to hang out with me from time to time. Spooky movie nights with lots of popcorn and soda, blasting Rob Zombie and Motionless In White while mom and dad aren't home, adventures to the thrift shops in the city to pick out some cute clothes together. My smile widens as I picture it.
I'm really liking this idea.