She walked down the stone path, images flashing through her mind like a movie, being constantly played as if to mock her. Taunt her, torture her for the mistake she made - for the mistake that ruined his life.
She tried to understand how she could have been so oblivious to the obvious; why would he do something so horrible to her? Why would he when he loved her? Why had she been gullible enough to think that love wasn't a strong enough emotion to stop him from doing something unthinkable.
He smiled at her as he walked down the corridor, his bag pack casually swung over his broad shoulders, his hair tousled as always. His green eyes were sparkling as he looked at her and she felt that familiar swooping sensation in her stomach. Months had passed since they had declared feelings for one another but he still managed to make her blush like a fool.
"Happy five month anniversary," he whispered to her in his thick voice before swooping down to kiss her on the lips, "You ready for tonight?"
"Yes," she grinned, flashing her white teeth, "Where are you taking me?"
He chuckled, "That's a surprise, love. Just be ready around eight. Trust me, you're going to love it."
And she was sure she would have; had the night gone according to plan, she and him would have gone to a fancy restaraunt, would have dined first class, they would have made love passionately like they always did and he would sigh her name from his lips, as if it were a prayer.
This would have happened, if only things had gone according to plan.
She was applying mascara, checking her reflection in the bathroom mirror constantly to ensure that she looked pretty. She wanted this night to be perfect, she wanted his eyes to widen when he saw her, she wanted him to -
Her thoughts were interrupted by U2's Yahweh. The guttering filled her ears and she rushed back into her room, searching for her phone under the piles of clothes thrown on her bed. Locating it, she flipped it open, smiling when she saw his name flashing across the screen.
"Hello?" she said, rather breathlessly.
"Hey," he sounded rather glum as he spoke, "Listen. My mother just called - Apparently there's been some problem with my aunt's home back in Brighton. They want me to go and help her with some things and I can't give them no for an answer. So I'm going to have to take a rain check on tonight."
"Oh," she sighed sadly, "It's okay."
"No, it's not," he said, sounding angry, "But I promise, I'll come back soon and we can celebrate and we'll have the time of our lives. Deal?"
"Deal," she said in a small, restricted voice.
"I love you," he whispered into the phone, a smile in his voice.
A grin flittered across her face, the swooping sensation almost making her faint with delight, "I love you, too."
That had been the last time she said those words to him. But she was here tonight and she would say them again, utter them into his ears like she did before she ruined everything. She would whisper the words, hold him as if he were the lifeline to her sanity, smile at him like she always did.
She just wasn't sure if he would do the same.
She was twirling her glass in her hands, watching the drink swivel, enjoying the night on her own in the street bar. People all around her were chattering, laughing, dancing, drinking. She was drinking, alright. But she needed her love to do the former three and she would never do them properly without him.
"Well, isn't it a surprise to see you here."
She looked up to see sparkling green eyes, so similar to her boyfriend's eyes. And with a smile, she realized that it was his brother, sitting down next to her and ordering a beer casually before turning around to look at her, resting his elbow on the table with his hand tucked beneath his chin.
"Hello," she smiled, drinking her beer.
"Never thought I'd see you out in the big, bad world," he chuckled, "And how come my brother's not with you? Aren't you two attached at the hip or something? I've never seen him without you."
She laughed lightly, "He had to go to Brighton tonight."
"Oh yeah, to help Aunt Mary out," he nodded, "He was always the good kid. Listened to my mother, did what she wanted. I was more of the rebel," he winked at her, taking a swig from his beer. "Hey, let me buy you a drink."
"Oh, no, it's okay, I was just about to leave -"
"I insist," he said, pushing her shoulder so she sat back down onto the bar stool, "You're going to sit here, have a nice conversation with me, knock back a few tequilas and I'll tell you some embarrassing stories about my younger brother and his screw ups."
She laughed, "if you insist."
He looked at her, his green eyes, so like his brother's sparkling. At the time, the hard look he gave her was thought of as innocent, passed off as a mere look. She didn't recognize the mischief in his eyes, the hard gleam, that evilgleam which should have warned her. But it didn't.
From that moment onwards, she did not remember a thing. It's a huge blank period in her life, one not known to her knowledge. Even when people are hung over, imprints of the events of the previous night as well as vague flashes continue to reside in their mind but in her's … there was absolutely no memory of that terrifying night.
It was later revealed to her that she had been slipped roofie, a drug that erased her memory for a short period of time, giving her no recollection of what happened whatsoever.
So when she woke up, bleeding on the street, not remembering that her boyfriend had cancelled their plans and that she had spent the night with her brother, not him, and remembering only the flash of sparkling green eyes, that both he and his brother had … she assumed that the rapist was her love. She assumed and killed him. He might not be dead, but his soul was gone after she accused him of doing something as horrible as rape to her.
After that … he died and became a walking, talking and breathing corpse; an empty shell, a small imprint of what he used to be.
Her head was pounding, her body aching, the ache pronounced and sharp between her legs, making her lower boy burn. She could hear the monotonous beep of a machine near her head, feeling something taped onto her hand, feel someone's heat beside her. She hand't opened her eyes, but she knew that someone was leaning over.
Her eyes slowly fluttered open and the first thing she saw was a pair of sparkling green eyes. The only thing she remembered from the night …
She looked at his worried and enraged face but at that point in time, with that pain between her legs, it all looked fake. It was only when she looked back with a clear mind that she saw how true and genuine his concern and anger were.
"Get away from me!" she whispered in her hoarse voice.
"Sweetheart, it's me," he said, hurt flashing across those green eyes, making them dark.
"I know it's you! Get away! GET AWAY!" she hollered, shoving him away with her hand until he stumbled back, his expression one of utter confusion and sorrow.
"Babe, I know you're upset -"
"OF COURSE I'm fucking upset!" she cried, furious tears pooling in her eyes and falling down her cheeks, "You RAPED me! You've made me so dirty, unclean and impure! How could you do this to me?"
His jaw went slack, his lips parting and his eyes widening and darkening with sorrow. He took a step forward, pain adding to the confusion as she cringed and flinched away from him, "You think I did this?"
"I know you did!" she screeched, grabbing a pillow from behind her head and using it as a shield, "We went out tonight! I was with you! You did this! YOU DID!"
"How can you not remember -"
"How could you DO this to me?"
"I didn't! Love, I was gone -"
"Don't you dare call me love, you ass hole!" she wept, "If you loved me, you wouldn't have done this! All this time I thought … I thought … but it doesn't matter now! What you've done … I'll never forgive you. Go. Go!"
"I SAID GO!"
She winced as the memory rang in her head, her yelling and screaming piercing her heart as if a dagger had run through it. She couldn't believe her own blindness, her stupidity and foolishness that had lead her to actually believe that he - the boy who had loved her beyond words - could ever inflict harm upon her. Why would he? He already had her, he had no reason to rape her.
But that was something her sorrow and pain didn't allow her to see for the first few weeks.
One night, crying herself to sleep, she had prayed to God to relieve her of this burden, of this shame, of this misery. And in that dream, the mysteries of that night had been revealed to her. And she got to know that all her assumptions were false, all her accusations incorrect, all his love and concern true.
She sighed, rubbing her forehead with her hand as she remembered all the rumors that were spread about him, ruining his reputation and she had not bothered to stop them. In fact, she had almost encouraged them. Thinking of that made shame build up deep with in her stomach, creeping up until it clenched her heart and squeezed it, making her feel sick to the core.
She reached the door and knocked on it timidly at first before ringing the bell. When no one answered after the third try, she gave up, sighing as she reached into her coat's pocket for the key he had given her and never taken back. She plunged it into the hole, turning it until the lock clicked open and she was in the warmth of his home.
A home that she was most probably not welcome in anymore.
She walked through the hall, her shoes tapping against the wood, making loud noises in the silence. She hesitantly walked into the kitchen but it was empty. Then she checked in the lounge and there he was.
He was sitting by the fire, his eyes locked on the flames in his leather arm chair. His intense gaze was directed towards the fire but somehow, he knew it was her without even bothering to look up, "What do you want?"
Her heart ached with his cold tone, "I want to talk."
He turned to her, a cold, sarcastic and hurt smile etched upon his face, "You mean you want to accuse me even more? What did I do now, huh? Molest you? Drug you? Abuse you?"
"No!" she whispered, her tone hurt. She walked forward, cautiously sitting down on the coffee table in front of him, directly facing him, her eyes on him while his were directed to the fire. "I came here to apologize."
His green eyes snapped up to meet her face, "Well that's new."
"I know I've been a fool," she sighed, tears welling up in her eyes, "I've been stupid and horrible to you and you have absolutely every right to be furious with me, to never forgive me for the rest of my life. I know now because I remember the night and God, you have no idea how bad I feel. I've … I've ruined you, I've ruined me and I've ruined us. And I can't begin to describe how much it pains me that I've done that."
He was staring at her silently, his green eyes dull and dark, devoid of life. There was sadness in them though and even though this should not have eased the knot in her chest, it did. The sadness showed her that he was still capable of feeling emotions and if he was, perhaps she had a chance at fixing him. That is, if he forgave her.
He simply sat there, watching her, his face set in stone. Tears were in her eyes which were yet to fall as she stared back, forming the deep connection between them that they used to share not too long ago. He sighed, his voice dripping with agony and depression as he said, "I loved you so much."
She held her breath, waiting for him to continue.
His gaze was so intense and soon, the darkness in his eyes melted into tears that began to form in those green pools as he asked, "Why wasn't that enough?"
"Oh, Liam," she whispered, her voice breathy and miserable.
"I was head over heels in love with you and you actually believed that I .. that I …" he couldn't bring himself to say the sentence. He leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees and burying his face in his hands, his body shaking with quiet, trembling sorrows.
"Liam, I'm sorry," she wept, falling down onto her knees before him, trying to pry his hands away from his face. "I can't say anything to make this all better but I'm sorry and I'll never stop being sorry for what I've done."
"I loved you so much," he repeated, shaking with his sobs.
"I know, I know," she cried, her hands on his knees, crouching on the ground, "I ruined everything."
Both of them cried next to the cracking fire, with her literally on her knees and him tearing up before her, literally letting himself go with his sadness. They were both shaking, her letting out shuddering gasps of air while he continued to repeat how much he had loved her and how she had betrayed him.
"I was already in so much pain," he wept, his body shaking, "Someone had raped the girl I loved, had violated the body I cherished, had broken the heart that belonged to me. And on top of that, you had to add that I was the one to rape you. That was too much pain, Reah. It got too much."
"I know, Liam," she whispered, her voice magnifying her broken heart.
"You've hurt me so much," he said, his tone hushed.
"I know I have but Liam, you have to understand what I was going through," she said, looking up and directly into his green eyes, "I wanted someone to blame."
He shook his head, a shuddering gasp escaping his lips, followed by a tear trickling out of his eye, "Why did you have to pick me, Reah?"
She shook her head miserably, "I can't answer that. I can't answer a lot of thing. The only thing that I'm sure of Liam, is how much I love you, regardless of these past few weeks. I know that you don't feel the same and it's perfectly justified. I can't blame you and I never will; I just thought it was fair to let you know that I don't blame you anymore and just … just to let you know that I still love you. You'll always be my Liam and even if you had raped me, that wouldn't have changed."
She made to stand up, getting to her feet and walking towards the exit. He was frozen on his armchair, his eyes red rimmed, staring at something she couldn't see. Her heart was heavy, her mind congested and all she wanted to do was run into his arms so she could be at home again. But that wasn't possible.
She turned around and saw Liam standing, just a few feet from her, staring at her intently with those green eyes of his, "If I tell you that somehow out of this entire fucked up situation, I still love you too, would it be completely unjustified?"
Her heart nearly jumped out of her chest and she nodded.
"Screw justice," he said before striding forward and taking her face into his hands, meeting her lips with his in what seemed to be the kiss that ignited life in both their eyes, having them sparkle again, having them blaze with what seemed to be a great amount of happiness and a small morsel of trust in Liam's, which soon developed and became larger and larger over the years.
He pulled away, gasping for breath. "But you know," he whispered against her lips, "I can't just forget everything."
"I don't expect that," Reah shook her head.
"So if I'm difficult over the next few days, it's justified."
"Deal," she whispered before he bent down to kiss her again, relighting their dead eyes, filling their shells with love and passion again, healing deep, past wounds.
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