Copyright June 14, 2015
Love? Is it something we all can have? What if we fall for someone who can never return the love? I have fallen for a guy who doesn’t love me for who I am, just what he wants me to be his perfect angel? What’s next?
I become lost…
“Katie?” A whisper in the dark sends shivers up my spine. Scared and alone, I whisk my head. No one’s there….
“Hello?” I tip toe around the dark place, my hands tremble. “H…e…l…l…o..?”
“Katie?” I stare at my reflection in a mirror. The same face with bags under her hazel eyes that are withdrawn from the world looks back at me. She diminishes and a monster’s head appears. The yellow beady eyed witch’s face with the crocked nose, taunt me in the black abyss. “You’re not worth the time nor the effort.”
“Katie…” Another taunting voice haunts me. I peer up to the corner. Smoke rises and diminishes --uncovering a jackal’s head. “You’re a mess?”
“Stop it…” I stutter. The rage that is built inside me explodes, and I pound on the floor. “You can’t control me.”
“But we already did.” More horrible faces pop up, from animals to monsters, surrounding me. I collapse onto the floor and tightly hug my legs.
“Go away.” I whisper, tears rush down my cheeks. “Why won’t you just go away?”
Their cackle laughs pierce my heart….
Another voice calls out. “Katie, wake up.”
I snap my eyes open and jump up. Gazing around my room, there’s the bookshelves, the desk and the hope chest, but no weird tainted faces. Thank God it’s just another dream… I smooth my face, flip the sheets over. “It’s time to start the day.”
Desperately, trying to forget the nightmare, I turn the music on and dance around my room, getting ready for another day in paradise. These nightmares have been worsening since I became Mark Driscoll’s steady. The more stress he crosses, the more control he has over me—the more I stare at the outfits on my bed and the more I dread going to school today.
“I don’t know what to wear today, kakis, black pants, or jeans.” I tap my chin. “What did he say? I have to dress for photoshoots? Well, must be nice to have a well-known photographer come to the school to take pictures of the future football hero,” I mumble and scratch my blond hair. “I really wish he didn’t have to include me in his photos, I just want to wear comfy clothes today, not a dress.” My two fingers snap, like I’ve an idea to cure cancer. “That’s it. Black pants and a fitted shirt. I’ll wear my hair up in a twist. It’s comfortable and yet, stylish.”
My mother’s voice startles me while I’m in mid-thought. “Katie, Mark is going to be here soon, are you ready?”
“What?” I peek up at the time. “Shit, he’ll say something if I’m not ready on time.” I snag the clothes and rush into the shower to get ready.
My eyes wander from the ground up to Mark as we hold hands going into the huge brick building also known as Maddison High, He seems like he’s in a good mood, a smirk crosses his face and his rough hands caress and plays with my fingertips. Phew... he’s in a good mood. Thank God.
He should be considering he has a full ride to any IV league school of his choice. Plus, every guy we pass down the hall punches Mark’s shoulder or nods. “Congrats, bro,” or “Top 5,” are also called out from the freshmen football players. There is no way he’s going to have a sour puss on his face today. However, I’m completely mistaken as his nails dig into the top of my hand— pinching every nerve and creating marks as we head to my locker. My hand aches to be left alone, I budge, he tightens. No... he’s not supposed to be like this, not now… not before my finial…
Once we arrive at the locker, I snatch my hand away from him. “Ow. I don’t see why you needed to pinch me.”
Not one word or an apology for what he did, instead, he yanks me into his embrace and caresses my cheek. “Kate, I thought I told you to wear the dress I bought you, since this is my big day with the photographers.”
“Are you kidding me? Is that why you pinched my hand?” Here we go. Can’t we have a morning without him critiquing every little thing I do? “Mark, you’re lucky I’m not in sweats.”
“What the hell does that supposed to mean?” His eyes narrow and the vein on his forehead pops out, which is never a good sign—he’s going to be a bear for the rest of the day.
“No… no… nothing,” I shutter and twiddle my fingers. “It’s finals today and normally I dress down. But I picked an outfit that makes me stylish, yet casual.”
“Stylish?” He chuckles. “Baby, when are you going to learn, you’re not smart and style isn’t your thing.”
“What?” I ask.
“You’re not smart, Katie. Look there are teens like Stafford who have the highest GPA but no desire to have a real life. Then there’s you—no offence baby, but your GPA, well, not so much in the highs. You’re more of the social bug.” A bit smug side today, are we Driscoll? If only I can shout it, but it’s no use…
“That’s because I haven’t focused on anything this year, not even track. And you know I love running.” Frustration builds up and my eyebrows pinch. “I know I can pull them up next year and…”
“Listen to me, the only need thing you need to focus on is being the angel that you are.” Not really paying any attention to what I’m trying to say, his eyes scans the hall. Probably to see if any freshman girl is gawking at him. “Look, I really don’t want to fight about this. I’ll check on you later, kay?”
“Okay?” If my head didn’t hang down today, it’s about to really sag. Mark’s right though, I’ve been focused on keeping a social life that my academics and sports have fallen to the wayside. Maybe if I wasn’t at his beck, I would have more time getting the grade instead of being Miss. Popularity.
“Hey.” He lifts my chin up. “I love you.” Those small words should make my heart pound and butterflies flutter all over, giving me gooses bumps—instead it’s a line full of emptiness. He brushes his lips against mine and walks down the hall like he’s king—leaving me more confused than ever. How can someone love me but at the same time have distained features on his face or have down right hateful words that spat from his mouth.
My head slams against the locker door. This is going to be a long drawn out day. I close my eyes and breathe in the sweat and dirt orders from the halls — wishing that this is an ongoing dream and I would wake up from it… but it’s not.
I’m trapped and I can’t seem to find a way out.
“Katie?” My favorite voice sings to me—giving me hope for a better day. I peek and loving the caring blue eyes staring back at me. George Stafford smiles at the haggard mess in front of him. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Have you ever felt like you’re trapped?” I ask.
“Meaning…” Like usual, George waves his hand in order to get me to talk. “Katie, you gotta’ open up.”
This gesture has been going on since the end of last year. I want to tell him everything, how I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore and I’m suffocating in a relationship with a guy who can be a saint one minute and the devil the next. “I’m fine. I’m just being silly and taking things too seriously.”
“Really? And being silly doesn’t have anything to do with the king telling you what to do again?”
“Shut up.” Playfully, I punch his shoulder. “You know, Mark can be a jerk at times, but I don’t blame him. The amount of pressure he’s under, do you know how hard it is to get into an IV league school.”
“Um, Katie, I actually do. But, I don’t bark orders at a girl I’m dating.”
“Please don’t.” I sniff.
“I won’t.” He relaxes his arm around me like a brother. “Come on. Let’s ace this calculous final that you’ve been studying for and veg out all day. My treat, I’ll buy the snacks. We can even chill at your house. Maybe you’ll catch on some sleep.”
“I like that a lot.”
With a turn of events, I blow off George and reluctantly I agree to change into the summer dress Mark gave me and meet the controlling one at his house.
The sounds of the television become mute. Tired and exhausted, my eyelashes flutter, dosing on and off I slouch on the gray couch in the living room. Didn’t stop Mark from feeling me up, his strong hand rises up my thigh, I push it away and lock my legs. He tries again.
“Please stop?” Skittishly, I sit up.
“What?” He devilishly smirks. “Just having quality time.”
“Since when does fooling around mean quality time?” I jerk my head back and watch the movie on the television.
“Since when?” He questions. My boyfriend’s palms rise up, with in a second his happy go lucky self turns into a horrible creature that I dream about every night. “Oh, I get it, you rather have this moment with Stafford?”
“It’s not that.” I sigh. “I have been running around for the past month and I just want to sleep.” Tears pool and gloss over my eyes. I have every urge to walkout of that door and head home, but I don’t. If I leave now, he’ll tear into me calling me names like tease, telling me I should grow up and accept the fact that no other guys in their right minds would go for me, or worse, Mark will hunt down my best friend and use him as a punching bag.
“Hey.” His thumb wipes my tears. “Don’t cry. I’m sorry. Look, I’m tired too and choosing a college isn’t the easiest thing to do. I was hoping you would have understand what I’m going through, but you’re not all there lately, Kate.”
“I’m sorry. I’m just having a lot on my mind.”
“Don’t we all. Look, why don’t we take a catnap and I’ll set the alarm on my watch for when the food will arrive.”
“No funny business.” I sniffle.
“Cross my heart.” He leans back on the couch and guides me towards his chest, I fall asleep while he plays with my hair.
The fog thickens as I plunge through it—looking for my way out. It thins and a shadow of a man in a black cape beckons me. My body obeys him, but my mind screams for me to turn around and run. I keep going towards him. The shadow turns into a vampire, gorgeous, sexy with lust in his eyes. He touches the most sensitive places and have his way with me—hypnotized by the woodland scent of cedar, I just let beast take advantage of my innocence. His finger tickles my backside and something hard finds its way in the delicate hole.
In panic I woke up. For some odd reason I feel pressure in my rectum, like I had to go to the bathroom. It’s uncomfortable, it burns and tissue’s starting to rip. I squirm, but an arm forces me to his chest. My hazel eyes wonder up to Mark’s—the lust and desire he has for me took over and now my body is his.
I weep in silence.
More than ever, I want to shut myself out of everything, life, love and friendship. But George won’t have it any other way. Each day Mark would drop me off, I rush up stairs slam the door and hide under my covers. Each day, the landline rings and my best friend checks in, making sure I’m home safely and asking if I’m okay.
The nightmares of monsters and demons just keep getting worse and worse. I don’t sleep much, I hardly eat and I start to wither away. I can’t tell my parents because they love Mark and I know for a fact they would never believe the good ol’ boy would hurt me. So I lie to them and say it’s the end of the school year, just trying to pull up my grades. What on earth has this control freak done to me?
My body shakes as I walk up the stairs to the front doors of the school and I plop down on the cold cement. The anger inside of me wants me to scream at Mark and tell him I’m not his puppet or queen that he can order around. Instead I drop my head and close my eyes, breaking down into tears.
The nightmare becomes a day dream with the same visions popping up in my head… Katie… He said you were nothing… you might as well let him have all of you. Be his submissive, that’s what you are anyways. No one in their right mind would let a guy do things to them, like Mark does. Why don’t you just give up on your dreams? You haven’t been serious about school since you met Mark. You’re beloved Mark… who’s off flirting with girls as we speak all because you couldn’t follow simple instructions when it comes to how to act… The screeching laughter and voices of these demons strengthen and I can’t get them out of my mind. I force myself up and grab the railing with my hand. Trying to lift this weakened body, I collapse.
This time a pair of caring hands takes hold of me.
“Katie?” I don’t have the effort to look at my best friend, on one hand I’m embarrass for what I have become and on the other hand, I’m too week to even lift my head. His wisps some of my dull blond hair back. “We need to get you some substance before you faint.”
I glance up. With a smile that would melt a grandmother’s heart, George Stafford guides me to the cafeteria. I pick at the cinnamon apple muffin he bought me. Even though it smells heavenly, I’m not much in the mood for eating. “George, do you ever wake up in the morning and know you’re a failure at life?”
“Hey, that’s not true, Katie.” He searches my eyes. “You’re life hasn’t started. Once it does, you’re going to blossom.”
“Blossom?” I snicker.
“Aw, I thought I caught a somewhat giggle, there’s hope for my girl yet.”
We joke and laugh about our English class and talk about next year being senior year and what it would be like without Mark in the school. “You’ll probably have less of a social life with him in Williamsburg, Kitty-Kat.”
“Shut up.” My lips twitch. He does know how to put a smile on my face, I haven’t heard the nickname Kitty-Kat since freshman year, I kinda’ miss it.
“Aw, come on.” He winks and with a fake southern accent that seems to fit him, he joke, “Why Kate Armstrong I do declare an actual smile on your face.”
A wiggle of my nose, I bust a gut laughing and snort. I haven’t had a good laugh in a long time. With Mark, I am to be my best all the time—meaning –there’s a time to speak, a time to giggle and no time for laughing because it’s unattractive. But with George, I can act anyway I want even be a total dork, and he’ll find humor in it, not discussed. I feel the freshmen girl who disappeared moons ago coming back to me, until the moment passes by.
“Hey, Stafford, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Great, the voice of darkness peek its nasty head around the corner.
My hands begin to shake again and I slouch as Mark storms from the lunch line to end of the café. Nervously I jump in front of George and whisper, “I am so, so sorry.”
“For what? Your boyfriend making an ass out of himself,” he mutters.
My bulk of a football player boyfriend towers over me glaring at George. Veins popping out everywhere, Mark growls while he speaks, “I told you to back away from her. You obviously don’t get it. She. Is. Mine.”
“Mark, He didn’t do anything. Come on.” I gently touch his shoulder. “We were just talking.”
“Get out of the away, Kate.” Not a care in the world and still has his narrowed eyes on George, my boyfriend shoves me. I tumble and hit the aluminum floor.
“What the hell’s wrong with you?” George scowls. He kneels down to check on me, however as luck would have it, a huge hand snatches his shoulder.
A fist jives into my best friend’s face. George wobbles and collapses.
“George,” I scream. Anger strikes me and my head snaps up to Mark. “How could you be so heartless? He didn’t do anything to me, he was just being a friend.”
“You need to get your priorities straight.” His huge index finger points at me as his muscles flexes. His nostril flares like an angry bull. “Next time I won’t be so nice.”
With a smirk, he strolls away like nothing happened.
“George,” I grasp his hands.
He jerks away. No…it can’t happen not him out of all people…
“I think you’re dominant is right.” George’s voice sharpens as he speaks. “You need to figure out Katie if you want to be a submissive for the rest of your life, and worry about superficial things like what to wear, or do you want to be a woman with her own ideals.”
“What did you just say?” My heart shatters the words that have been spoken. “I’m not…”
“Oh, please.” His teeth grinds and the one person who I thought would never pass judgement continues his ridicule. “What the hell do you think just happened? He pushed you a side, you fell to the floor and didn’t do anything. Hell, Kate, god forbid you actually stand up for yourself.”
I droop up the stairs to my bedroom, not wanting dinner or take any calls. I collapse on my bed, throw my arm around my head and close my eyes. How did I get in a place like this?
Darkness visits me again, hollow and empty the place maybe, I begin to find something I lost, my courage.
“Hello,” I holler as my voice echoes through the space.
“Katie… Looks like you lost someone else.”
George appears through the darkness like he’s in a mirror. I reach for him but the mirror fogs— leaving it cold. My head drops. Laughter continues to grow. “You see Katie. You are nothing without Mark. You can’t even get to your best friend when he’s in need.”
“STOP!” I pound on the glass. All the voices ceased and a mirror of a young teen who’s pale and drained appears through the clouds. “I’m not you. I will never be you. I’m Katie Armstrong, my goal is to be a journalist and I’m going to get into the school of my choice. I am no longer controlled.”
Snapping out of my sleep, I wake up and read the clock. “8:45. He should be up.”
I rush out of bed, grab clothes and jump into the shower. After, I just throw me hair up in a messy bun, run downstairs and out the door. I don’t know what’s come over me, all I know is out of any friend I have ever had, I never wanted to lose George. He has always been there when I needed him and what happened yesterday, well I got to make amends.
The more I thought of losing him, the harder my sneakers hit the pavement as I run to his house. I keep running and… crash into a lanky body. Ow.
“Katie, are you alright?” George kneels down next to me and touches my forehead.
“Yes, no, I think I might be. I’m so so sorry.” I scoot up and hug him. Every ounce of emotion seeps out as I cry on his shoulder and shake. He takes hold of my shaken body and grabs me tight.
“It’s okay,” He whispers. This is what I need. Being able to feel secure, being able to break down and cry when I need to and being loved. He keeps whispering, “It’s okay. I’m here Katie, I will always be here.”
A new day starts today. I walk with George through the halls and up to Mark and the jocks. They of courses are finding the humor to stick each other’s heads in the locker. My soon to be ex, nod in my direction and I relax my hands in my jeans pocket. My nerves act up as my stomach does summersaults. I begin to feel ill.
“You want me to go up with you?” George asks.
“No, I got this one.” I stand on my own ground and walk up to the crowd.
Mark leans his arm around me and kisses my cheek. I slide his arm off of me and hold his hand. “We need to talk.”
He cracks his jaw, but calmly he nods and waves to the guys. Ignoring their pucker lips and smooches, Mark takes hold of my hand and we walk to the courtyard of the school. The cherry blossoms and the colorful flowers are in full bloom, this is the spot he asked me to go steady and this is spot where I have to end it.
I automatically let go and relax my hands in my pockets again. “Mark, I need to you to know that I’m not someone’s play thing or slave.” Phew, that was easier to get off my mind.
“Babe, I know that.” He takes one step forward, I take one step back. “What the hell? Do you have something going on with Stafford?”
“No. I have something going on with me,” I utter. “I’m not the same naive freshman girl you met two years ago. I can’t be controlled anymore.”
“Kate, if that’s what this is about, don’t you think you should grow up.” His voice is brisk and sharp. “I mean, asking you to wear certain clothes and getting a social life is all of a sudden wrong?”
“It is when I’m supposed act a certain way and be a certain way and do anything you want to my body. You almost knocked a guy out who helped wanted to get food in my stomach for change. Plus, all the girls you have been with behind my back, I think it’s time to call it quits.”
“I never,” He rubs his hand with his hands and grumbles. “How many times am I going to apologize about Stafford? Those girls… I was just being a good guy giving them a ride home. Look, I just wanted us to be a better couple than others, shoot me if is that wrong.” He sits down on the stone bench.
“That’s the issue. We were both raised differently.” My face softens as I speak. “You’re the boy that was raised to be prefect and I was the girl that was raised to think for herself. I really miss that girl.”
“So you’re planning on going with Harvard instead of me.” His Adam apple bobs.
“Neither.” I smirk. “I’m going with state. Starting with less of a social life and more studying.”
I hand him his ring and kiss his cheeks one last time.
I stroll away with mix emotions, don’t get me wrong, I loved Mark. He was caring in his own way, but I missed my own freedom of thinking, freedom of being who I am as a person.
Now, I can finally put the demon voices to rest and become the girl who I am, the giddy kindred spirit who wants to be a more than life itself.