That night, I slept with Katie which was a bad idea; I got woken up at 3:35 AM; 11:35AM in Australia by a foot finding its way into my mouth. I crept out into the kitchen to get a glass of water and saw Mum sleeping on the sofa, drawl crawling down her chin. I got a thick blanket and laid it over her. By then, I was wide awake. I crept back into my room, made sure the paint was dry before sitting on the ledge of my window. I gazed out of the windowpane at the dingy street and wondered what I would be doing at that moment if I were back in Australia. What did I usually do in the morning? I would go for a shower as soon as I woke up, then I would eat breakfast and brush my teeth, dry my hair, put some makeup on. Suddenly, I was more awake than ever. I was the most awake since the incident. I got my sports clothes out of my bottom drawer next to my bed, tied my long black hair up and wrote a note to leave on the kitchen table where Mum would be sure to see it.
Gone for a run. Won’t be long, love you xxx
I was about to open the door when I remembered my phone and earphones. I doubled back and when I finally had everything, ran out of the house. The air was fresh, no, cold. I ignored the chill running down my spine and concentrated on the music. The streetlights projected weird shadows on the cemented ground. I ran, ran, ran. Ran until my lungs shriveled up. Ran until my legs burned. Ran until I thought I was going to collapse. I didn’t collapse though, I continued running. I pushed myself harder than ever. Something I had mistaken for a shadow moved and my head snapped towards it, my legs coming to a stop. My chest heaved, trying to get as much oxygen it could into my tired lungs. The sound made the person turn around and I ran for it in the direction I had just come from. People who hung around on the street in the middle of the night were trouble. I couldn’t put Mum through an other incident. I prayed for my legs to go faster. I ran, ran, ran and never slowed down until I got to the front door.
“WAIT! I’m the one who took your money, not Dad!” Dad and the attackers turned to me in shock. “I took your stupid money! Kill me, not them.” I said, tears streaming down my cheeks, hiccupping. The gun turned to me and I closed my eyes, ready for darkness to overcome me.
“She didn’t! She’s trying to protect me!” said Dad, desperately trying to save me.
“Dad, don’t. Please, I don’t know what I would do if you got killed because of me.”
“Someone tell me who took the money or I’ll shoot both of you.” said a gruff voice.
“I did!” said Dad and I, both at the same time.
I screamed. Mum screamed. Dad’s head lolled to the side.
“DAD! Dad, please, please wake up.” I cried from the corner, still bound too tight to get to him. I tugged at the ropes again, trying desperately to undo them, desperate to get to my dead father. I tugged and tugged until my wrists became bright red.
“PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN, HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD! YOU ARE SUROUNDED.”
I remembered all of this in the shower, the drops of water burning my shoulders. A single tear ran down my cheek.
“I’m so, so sorry Dad.” I whispered. “So sorry. It’s all my fault.”
I jumped and banged my head on the showerhead.
“You’ve been in there for a long time, Sweetheart. There’ll be no hot water for your sister and I.”
I turned to water off.
“Thank you Honey.”
I listened to her walk away.
“Lila? Lila!” It was my first day back to school. I. Was. D-R-E-A-D-I-N-G. It. I turned around to see my old bestfriend Melany run up to me. “O.M.G.! I didn’t even recognize you!”
That was sort of the point, I thought.
“You’ve died your hair and gone all… Gothy!”
I had long black hair that came down to my waist and wore all black clothes whereas before the incident, I had short blond hair and wore bright colors.
“I had a makeover.” Was all I said. What I didn’t say, is I died my hair as soon as we got back so hopefully no one would recognize me. That was a bust.
“What’s your first lesson? I’ll show you to the classroom!”
“It’s fine really. I have to go see the Headmistress.” I didn’t wait for a reply. I didn’t want to hurt Melany’s feelings but I couldn’t deal with her at that moment.
I walked up the hallway, turned left, then right to where the Headmistresses office had always been. I sat down outside the door, waiting for my turn when a boy came to sit next to me. He had to sit next to me when there was five other places he could have gone.
“Jamie.” He said to me.
“My name. Jamie.”
I looked at him. “You don’t look like a Jamie.” He wore black, ripped skinny jeans, a black t-shirt under a black leather jacket. His shoulder length black hair was tied into a small bun at the top of his head. His skin was pale and he had these piercing blue eyes that crinkled when he smiled. He could literally be me in boy form except for the eyes. Mine were an emerald green color.
“Who do I look like then?” he asked.
I frowned. “You look like an Austin.”
“What, like Austin, as in Austin and Ally?” He laughed.
“Yes. Like Austin becomes a rebel cause he’s had enough of being a goody-goody.”
“Well I’ve never been much of a goody-goody so I can’t be an Austin.”
“Anyone can be an Austin.”