A/N: So I decided to edit this chapter and reupload it... I actually caught quite a few mistakes so it should be better now. I'm not sure how this story will progress, but I hope you can stick with me and give me suggestions and feedback. Because this is a relatively peaceful-ish story with way less action than Mystical Wish, I just hope it's not boring. Still, I hope that anyone who reads this can gain something from it (maybe a new perspective on life?). Haha, enjoy.
Chapter 2: Rose
Many hours had passed since the incident at school and Aria was now sitting in the living room, looking out at the twinkling stars that decorated the velvety blue sky. Her mind kept wandering back to the incident at school and Elena's odd behaviour. Why was Elena so cold towards everyone? There must be a reason behind it. It was as if the girl had blocked the entrance to her heart, protecting it with thorns that warded off anyone who tried to get close.
Aria sighed, clutching the cushion even tighter as her mind continued to search for answers. Elena was just like a rose, beautiful yet untouchable. Similar to a rose, Elena was protecting herself. But from what? What could she possibly need to protect herself from?
Hearing his sister's sigh, Arden stepped into the living room, drying his hand on a dishcloth.
"What's wrong?" He asked his sister.
"Huh?" Aria looked up. "Oh, nothing."
"Hm…" Arden replied. He didn't ask anymore, knowing that it was better not to force the issue, and went back to the kitchen to finish cleaning up.
After a while, Aria turned to her brother.
"Hey, big brother…"
"I was just wondering… what can make someone purposely distance themselves from others? I mean… what can possibly cause someone to seem to hate other people so much?"
"Hm…" Arden pondered for a while. "I can't really give you a definite answer. There can be a lot of reasons for that."
"I see…" Aria rested her chin on top of the cushion.
Watching his sister's reaction, Arden walked back out into the living room and patted her head gently.
"What's wrong? Did something happen at school today?"
"Not really. It's just… there's this girl in my class who has isolated herself from everyone else and when I tried to approach her…"
"Let me guess, she pushed you away."
Aria nodded, her chin was still resting on the cushion.
Arden smiled, "Don't worry, Aria. I'm sure she'll open up to you soon enough. Nobody can resist being friends with you."
"Really?" Aria asked, looking up.
"Thanks, big brother."
Arden smiled and began to walk away. Aria stood up as well. She walked over to the table and picked up a picture frame.
Smiling back at her mother, Aria proceeded to whisper softly. "I will help plant seeds in that secluded garden… and I will definitely make that garden bloom again."
The next morning when Aria walked into the classroom, she immediately spotted Elena sitting in her seat, isolated from the students near her.
Feeling that someone was staring at her, Elena raised her head and turned towards the door. Her eyes locked with Aria's eyes.
When Aria saw Elena looking at her, she quickly tried to smile and greet her.
Before she could finish, Elena had already turned away, her eyes focusing on her desk again.
Lowering her hand, Aria said nothing more and proceeded to walk towards her own desk. Mika, bounded up to her just as she had settled down.
"Hey!" She was as energetic as ever.
"Good morning…" Aria greeted back. At the moment, she was not as full of energy as her friend.
"Hey, don't sweat it!" Mika exclaimed, patting Aria on the back hard. "She's always like that. So don't take it personally, okay?"
Aria sighed, "I know…"
"Hey, what are you guys talking about?" Elrin's voice suddenly spoke up as he put his bag down on his desk.
"Hey, Elrin." Mike replied. "Aria was just trying to greet Elena there but got the cold shoulder instead."
"I see," Elrin turned to Aria. "Hey, don't worry about it. She's probably just really shy. Give it some time and she'll warm up to you."
"Probably…" Aria sucked in a deep breath. "Alright! I won't let this get me down. As they say, if at first you don't succeed, try try again!"
"That's the spirit!" Mika laughed.
"Thanks, Mika, Elrin." Aria said. "You guys really cheer me up."
"What are friends for?" Elrin smiled.
For the rest of the day, Aria tried hard to approach Elena, but the other girl always ignored her. It was almost as if she didn't exist. At lunchtime, Aria tried to invite Elena to eat with her friends, but Elena had walked away quickly, escaping to somewhere else for the whole hour. It was at that time that Elrin introduced them to a new friend he had just met.
"Hey guys, this is Aldrich. We met in music class." Elrin gestured towards the boy standing beside him.
"Heya mates, what's up?" The other boy greeted.
Aldrich was only slightly taller than Elrin. He had chestnut brown hair gelled into numerous spikes at the top of his head, making his forehead visible. His honey-yellow eyes sparkled with energy. Although he was wearing the same school uniform, he gave a very different image from Elrin. The boy's shirt was not tucked in, his blazer was left unbuttoned, and his tie hung loosely around his neck. Overall, Aldrich gave off a clean but carefree image.
"Hey Aldrich!" Mika spoke up cheerfully.
"It's nice to meet you," Aria greeted as well.
"Nice to meet you guys too. Mind if I join you guys for lunch?"
Both girls nodded and the group began to eat. All the while, Aria couldn't stop thinking about Elena. The girl must be eating alone somewhere. Aria just couldn't understand why Elena was so cold towards everyone. Oh well, she'd just have to try harder.
The next time Aria tried to approach Elena was during gym class. When everyone had split into groups to practice volleyball, Aria tried to invite her to join, but once again, Elena completely ignored her and proceeded to practice by herself.
It was after school when Aria got another opportunity to befriend Elena. After the bell had rung, the teacher had called Elena up to the front of the class to ask if she could help him take some papers to the teacher's office, as he had an important errand to attend to. Since the stack of papers appeared to be heavy, Aria ran after Elena to offer some help.
"Elena, wait up!" Aria called, catching up to Elena in the hallway outside the classroom.
Elena did not even slow down as Aria ran to catch up to her. Seeing the girl's reaction, Aria brushed if off with a smile.
"That looks really heavy, let me help."
She reached for the papers, but the other girl moved it away quickly. This action caused the thick stack of papers to wobble and fall onto the floor, leaving not a trace of what had been the neat stack that once balanced on Elena's arms. Wordlessly, the girl bent to retrieve them.
"Here, let me help." Aria bent down as well.
Before Aria could even touch the papers, her hand was slapped forcefully away.
Shocked, Aria turned her eyes towards Elena and froze as she saw the girl's ice blue eyes flash angrily.
"Why can't you just leave me alone?!" Elena shouted. Her voice rang loud and shrill down the whole hallway.
"No! I don't want to hear it! You are all the same- all despicable and sly. None of you can be trusted. Don't ever come near me again!"
At those words, Aria became speechless. Her eyes reflected the pain she felt as Elena shouted at her. Seeming indifferent, Elena quickly picked up the papers and ran down the hall, leaving Aria alone, wounded and silent.
Opening the door to the teacher's office, Elena quickly set the papers down onto the designated desk. Unbeknownst to the people in the office, her face had taken on a pained expression. Her words had not only hurt Aria; they had hurt her as well.
Clenching her fist, she began to walk out of the office towards the school entrance. She had not walked far when two pairs of hands came out of nowhere and grabbed her violently. With her mouth covered, all she could do was struggle as she listened to giggling that sounded like it belonged to a group of girls. It was not long until she found herself being thrown into an old storage closet. Looking up, she recognized the girls to be the same girls from yesterday. They were now looking down at her and sneering, their intentions made evident by the glint in their eyes.
"Maybe this will teach you a lesson, you little wench." One of the taller girls spat the words out, seemingly pleased with what they were doing.
Elena glared relentlessly. These were the people who served as a reminder that nobody could be trusted. Sooner or later, you'd be betrayed, backstabbed.
"Still have some fire in you, I see." Another girl growled. "Let's see how you fare after you spend some time in here."
And with that, the door was quickly closed. As the blackness descended on her, Elena quickly began to panick. She stood up and rushed towards the door, her fists slamming hard against the wood.
"Let me out!" She screamed.
"No can't do. I'm afraid this is your punishment… Enjoy."
Those were the last words Elena heard before footsteps signalled the departure of the other girls. Elena was now all alone.
Collapsing back onto the floor, she began to sob. The darkness scared her a lot; they were the source of her nightmares. It was the darkness that brought back all of those painful memories.
Elena could still remember it very clearly- that fateful day when she came to hate others.
The girl sat on the swings by herself, her curly black hair billowing behind her as she swung back and forth. Nobody had wanted to play with her because she was too quiet, too creepy. She raised her little hand and moved them across her eyes in a wiping motion; she knew she would be laughed at if anyone saw her cry.
"What's wrong?" A girl's voice called out beside her, causing her to jump slightly.
Looking up, Elena could see another girl her age standing beside her. The girl had long blonde hair that was partially tied up at the back. Her ocean blue eyes stared at Elena curiously, showing no hint of cruelty.
"Why are you alone?" The other girl prodded again, "Where are your friends?"
Elena hesitated, but decided to answer the girl. "I don't have any."
The other girl's eyes widened, "Really? How can that be? You're so pretty!"
Elena smiled sheepishly, "The o-others think I-I'm creepy. That's why t-they won't let me play with them."
"I don't think you're creepy."
Elena looked at the other girl, surprised. "You don't?"
"Of course not! If they don't want to be your friend, it's their loss. I'll be your friend!"
"Really." The other girl smiled. "I'm Lilly by the way. What's your name?"
Elena smiled too, "Elena."
Lilly grinned back, "Let's be friends, Elena."
She extended her hand and Elena took it.
Elena trembled under the sudden pain that threatened to crush her heart. Her breathing became ragged and she wrapped her arms around herself tightly. She rested her head on her legs. It was like she was trying to protect herself from something sinister. The memories wouldn't stop coming.
The other girls continued to hate Elena, but she didn't care. After all, Lilly was there for her. But that didn't last. It was not long before Elena was alone again.
On a particular afternoon, the girls decided to take things one step further. They had dragged her into an abandoned shed and had locked her inside. Elena was scared. She tried to call for help but nobody was there to help her. She felt the dank wooden floorboards make contact with her as the girl's shoved her into the shed.
The last word she had uttered was Lilly's name. Hearing this, the other girls sneered.
"You think Lilly's going to help you?" One of them taunted.
"Well, she's not going to. She's been one of us all along."
Elena's eyes grew wide.
Amongst the crowd, she spotted a familiar figure. She remembered the blonde hair and the blue eyes. It was Lilly, but not the one she knew. The Lilly standing in front of her was the same as all the other girls. She was now wearing a smirk on her face and her eyes glinted with unmasked cruelty.
"Lilly?" Elena croaked, barely able to contain the pain that her friend's presence brought. "Why?"
"Why?" Lilly gave a laugh. "I've always hated you. From the moment I saw you I knew I hated you. You were so pathetic, sitting there like you were too good for us, but we got you didn't we? I had to go to the trouble of pretending to be your friend just to see you suffer even more in the end. Did you know how repulsive that was? But it was all worth it."
Elena shivered. This wasn't the Lilly she knew! What happened to her? What had caused her to change so much?
"I know what you're thinking." Lilly frowned. "You're wondering when I had changed. Well, I was never your friend. I've never changed and I've always hated you."
Then stepping closer to Elena, Lilly smiled again. "Maybe this will teach you never to trust anyone again."
And with that, Lilly raised her hand. A resounding slap rang inside the closed space of the shed as Elena felt the sting of Lilly's hand across her face.
"Goodbye," Lilly said as she stepped away. "And I hope to never see you again."
The doors slowly closed, leaving Elena all alone in the darkness. Pain was the only thing that kept her company until someone found her.
Soon after, Elena switched schools. She never saw Lilly again…
Now that Elena was trapped in darkness again, her memories flooded back to her, forcefully making her relive the nightmare again and again. Elena clutched at her chest. Tears had spilled down her cheeks a long time ago. She was now desperately praying for someone, anyone to come save her- save her from both her pain and her loneliness.
Aria's face was the first thing that popped into Elena's mind, but Elena knew Aria would never come. At first Aria reminded her of Lilly, making Elena hate her even more. After all, nobody was trustworthy. Everyone was scheming and conniving. She purposely drove Aria away so that she would not be hurt by others again, and in the process of doing so, she had hurt Aria as well. That's why Elena knew that Aria would never come for her.
And so Elena continued to relive her memories, each time adding more torment onto her already shattered soul. Finally she couldn't take it anymore.
"Somebody, anybody… help me." She whispered, her eyes blinded by the continuous stream of water that futilely tried to cleanse her of her pain.
It was then that the door was suddenly pulled open, revealing a blindingly bright light. Elena shielded her eyes from it.
"I found you," A gentle voice called out to her.
Elena looked up. She came face to face with the smiling face of Aria, who looked relieved to see that Elena was okay.
Reaching out, Elena tried to convince herself that this wasn't a dream- that there was someone out there who still cared for her. As if in response, Aria also spread her arms. This time without hesitation, Elena rushed towards Aria, clutching onto the girl desperately as her sobs became louder, not because she was in pain, but because the pain was gradually released through her cries.
"There, there," Aria cooed, stroking Elena's hair as the other girl continued to release her pain. "Everything's alright now."
And that was when Aria knew that she was finally able to reach Elena inside her garden, breaking through the thorns that had guarded it for so long and into the beautiful world behind it. And Elena, in turn, was finally able to step forward and enter Aria's garden as well.