I have decided to do something. To post a novelette on my blog. In installments, of course. One chapter per post, once every four-ish days. Now, you may not care. You do not need to read these. But you may like it. So there you go.
(Small warning: this story does mention a case of rape at some point. Of course it is handled delicately (and it's not talked about in detail etc.etc.) but if you are younger than 13 you may want to ask your parents if they're ok with that.)
So, last time we ended with:
That all houses have their own cross to bear is not exactly true. Some houses have no crosses to bear while other seem to have millions of crosses to bear. But it’s true that every house bears its cross at some point. I had felt the cross come closer but now it was taken away from me and I felt so light. The cross had landed on Miley’s shoulders.
The creepy messenger was back with his creepiness. “Anna, I’m going to be at the Yellow Bull tomorrow evening. U coming?”
The fact that The Yellow Bull was the closest pub to my house made this extremely suspicious. I didn’t want to do this, but I was desperately curious about who this dude was. Or maybe it was someone taking the Mikey out of me – I had no idea; I just wanted to know and stop these annoying messages. I didn’t enjoy the wall with such stuff scribbled on them. It had to stop.
Going to the Yellow Bull wouldn’t be dangerous. It was close to our house, and it was always fairly crowded, so it wasn’t like Mr Creepy could do anything to accompany his fervent love for me. I wouldn’t tolerate any touching.
I was nervous. I felt angry at myself for putting on lipstick – I never put on lipstick and I didn’t even care a jot about whoever this was. But still, it was like a date, right? I had to do something, and I didn’t feel like wearing a dress. I wore smart flats and pink jeans and my brown leather jacket. I still thought I looked like a ragdoll, but this was who I was and besides, he had a crush on me, he said, so he shouldn’t mind.
The Yellow Bull was one of the most interesting pubs in Henffordd village – the walls were filled with iron vintage ads, old WW2 medals and pictures of Welsh mansions in the regency area. The shelves close to the ceiling were filled with gems I wished I could buy – old typewriters, hat boxes and Dickensian novels gathering dust in the dark corner. People came here in groups, ordering beer and eating fish and chips with their fingers. Michael Bublé sang on the radio and a small television gathered boys together to watch the Olympics.
I was slightly nervous. How on earth was I supposed to know who the creep was? Should I just sit awkwardly and wait, or should I pretend to be glamorous and order some tall glass with rosy gin? I went for the former, dismissed waiters with the ‘I’m waiting for someone’, and looked at the strangers on their evenings out.
I saw a cute couple who were almost as cute as Gayle and Tim. I saw an old man eating the most expensive meal on the pub’s limited menu in the corner. I saw a group of girls drinking coke and stalking boys on Instagram. They giggled a lot.
Then I saw Tim, of all people! He grinned at me and waved from the back of the pub and then came and sat at my table.
“Hello, Anna,” he said. He smiled right into my eyes. If I hadn’t known Tim had a very committed relationship I would have found him extremely flirty. Of course he had to have those copper-green eyes that set magic spells in dark pubs.
“Fancy seeing you here!” I said. “Is Gayle here?”
“No, I’m actually waiting for someone,” Tim said. He grinned like a bashful teenager up to no good.
“I’m waiting for someone too,” I said.
I stared at Tim’s drilling stare, the cheeky sparkles in his face and the devilish grin. It couldn’t be. The thought that entered my mind shocked me. Tim’s grin nodded at me, and his eyes kept on focusing on mine. He was saying, yes, yes, what you just thought was true. He was saying that without any words, because saying the words would make him sound unfaithful and not saying the words would make him appear awfully cute. Stupid boy.
“W-what is it?” I asked. I had to think the best.
“Hi, Anna,” Tim whispered. He held my hand and I slapped it furiously.
“Don’t you dare say that you are the one who –”
He just stared and had the nerve to twist an impish grin on his lips.
“How dare you!” I was aghast. “You – you and Gayl!”
“Com’on you’ve gotta admit you had a crush on me all the – ”
“No!” I spoke as loudly as I dared. “I never ever had! You were Gayl’s boyfriend and I treated you like hers! Never have I –”
“No, course not, because –”
I interrupted him furiously. Some people were looking at us, but I didn’t care. “Of course, you say, when you’re cheating on her!”
“Just admit you like me!”
“I don’t! I have no idea where you get that idea from – no, in fact when it comes to what I think of you right now, I dislike you very strongly indeed!”
“But you once liked me, admit it.”
I felt like slapping him with his little grin. “No,” I said icily. “I have never liked you that way. I liked you because you were Gayl’s boyfriend and I trusted her choice. Turns out she got fooled by a cheater.”
“Don’t hate me,” he said.
“Look, honestly, what do you expect? Do you expect me to go on a date with the boyfriend of my best friend?! Do you really think I would do that?” I looked at him in frantic hopelessness.
“I really do love you, Anna.” He didn’t smile anymore, and the sparkle in his eyes had faded. He was serious. “I wasn’t joking when I wrote that on the wall. I’ve loved you ever since we met.”
“No, please, let me say what I want to say. When Gayl introduced you to me after her European trip, where she met me, I was like, ‘Wow, Gayl has some cool friends.’ I was crazy about Gayl too, but it was more a shallow sort of a crazy. The thought of you stuck deep with me throughout the weeks. I had great, great fun with Gayl and I’ll always love Gayl, but like, look, what I feel for you is deeper. It’s realer.”
“Stop it at once,” I said, freezing a look in his direction. “I don’t want to hear this. You’re just playing – I know you are. And if you think I’m not going to tell Gayl about this, you’re very wrong.”
Tim grabbed my wrist. “Hey, please!”
I shrugged off his grip and frowned. “I hope you realise how much you’ll break Gayl’s heart. She loves you to bits.”
“I don’t really want to break up with Gayl!”
“What, you want to be in a polygamous relationship?” I scoffed. “Or you want to be in love with your girlfriend’s friend? How unhealthy! I –”
“Listen, it’s possible to like two girls at the same time.”
“Many things are possible, Tim. That doesn’t mean they are all good things. What you are doing is not acceptable. Why, two weeks ago you were kissing Gayl in front of me! That is so unfair on Gayl! If you’re not interested in Gayl anymore, you shouldn’t cover it up by useless public displays of affection!”
“I like Gayl –”
I shook my head hopelessly. “But you like me better! If that’s what you feel then don’t go and lie to Gayl about it! You should have stopped your relationship with her a long time ago. All these years, you’ve liked me better – and all these years you’ve acted like the model boyfriend!”
He frowned. “You should be flattered.”
“I am not flattered in the least! Surprised, yes, immensely. Any boy would be lucky to have Gayl – she’s the prettiest girl in this village – but no, I am not flattered! Sorry to disappoint you!”
“You have no idea what I see in you, do you.” He smiled softly.
“I DON’T want you to FLIRT,” I commanded. “Now I’m going home. You should think about what you’re going to tell Gayl. Make sure you apologise on your knees.”
“So you’re going to let me tell her?” Tim asked.
“I’ll give you three days. If you haven’t told Gayl by then, I’ll tell her.”
Tim swore. He called me something I had never been called before. I slammed the pub door shut and marched home, my heart pounding faster than I knew was possible.
(Chapter 5 will be up on Wedneday, 11th of April. I'm sorry if the story posts bore you; bear with me. There are 5 more parts to go, and then I'll go back to more posty posts. :-P)