Tales of a Broken Soul
Leah is plagued by her memories. Leaving La Push behind, she strives for a new life in New York. But when she returns for her brother’s graduation, her life gets irreversibly turned upside down.
3. Seth's job
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2637 Review this Chapter
Sam was leaning on my desk, smiling at me with his perfect teeth. I couldn’t help but smile back, my long black hair fanning over my face. He brushed a stray lock away from my eye and his fingers left lingering trails of electricity where he touched. My heart was pounding erratically and I wanted nothing more than for him to touch me again. I yearned for him. I needed him. But there was no way I was going to admit that to him yet.
“Leah,” he started. The way he said my name made my stomach twist. My hands gripped my seat.
“Yes?” I teased, trying to keep the blush that was threatening to spill over my cheeks in control. He stared at me and suddenly I was worrying if my eyeliner was on right. If my clothes were wrinkled. Was my mascara running?
He traced a pattern on my desk, taking a few deep breaths. My heart was throwing itself against my rib cage. My mouth fell half open and I saw him swallow.
“You know that the winter dance in coming up in a few weeks,” he choked. Oh. My. God. My mind was at a stand still. I refused to let myself believe he was asking what I hoped he was. It-it was impossible for him to be interested in me. But then he said the five words that would have brought me back from the dead: “Will you go with me?”
I was pretty sure my heart stopped, but it was probably due from the overwhelming sensation that filled my whole body. When I looked back on it, I realized that it was love.
* * *
My eyes opened instantly, dry and unemotional. The dream no longer surprised me---it was a constant companion. I had it so often that I no longer woke up screaming or crying. My heart was dead. It had no feeling left.
The blankets resting on my body the night before had spilled onto the floor because of my subconscious heat. My pillow was half way across the room; I wasn’t exactly sure how it managed to get there. But my mind wasn’t fit to wonder about that. Only one word replayed in my mind.
Love, love, love love love love love love….
Love was something I was fairly inexperienced with when I fell for Sam. All I knew about it was from chick flicks and those were pretty unreliable when it came to real life. My entire being centered around him. He was my reason for existence, no matter how much my inner feminist protested that. And when my life was gone…
I was dead, in a sense. Nothing seemed to be able to revive me.
I shifted to my side and felt the scratch of my clothes from the night before. I shot up into a sitting position, the events from the dinner hitting me with full force. I almost screamed, but my hands covered my mouth instantly. My eyes boggled and I started to hyperventilate.
My heart did an uncomfortable squeeze and I cursed it. I cursed my heart with everything I had. Did it enjoy torturing me? Telling me to love when I would only get hurt? Telling me to love when I was too far gone?
My hands squeezed into painful fists and I heard the bones crack. That time I did scream, not from the pain, but from irrepressible anger. I wanted to hit something. Preferably something that would fight back. I needed a fight. Something to release my anger on.
I hopped out of bed and pulled off my wrinkled clothes. I pulled on an old pair of shorts that were thread bare in quite a few places and a random shirt I pulled from out of my duffle bag before stalking out my bedroom door.
I almost made it to the living room when a voice stopped me cold.
“Leah,” it breathed. My mind was in a stand still again. My mouth dropped open and my heart fluttered. It was his voice. My eyes wanted to water, but I refused to let them. I swallowed the lump in my throat before turning towards Sam, everything that was screaming for his love safely locked up.
“What do you want?” I snapped. I flinched, realizing how snippy my tone was. But when I looked at his guilt stricken face, I convinced myself that he deserved it. He was the one that broke my heart. He didn’t deserve any kindness from me.
I glanced at the clock, wondering who the Hell let him in the house. My brother was at work and my mother was probably at the hospital.
“I-I let myself in,” Sam choked. “I honestly had no idea you were going to be here. Seth didn’t really spread it around town and I stopped phasing so…” He trailed off, and shook his head again, as if trying to make me disappear like I was a ghost. “I just needed to grab something that Sue left for me. I will only be a sec,” he said, trying to sound confident before running into the kitchen. I was shocked in place even though all common sense was telling me to make a run for it.
Sam came back around the corner all too soon, carrying something that looked like a pregnancy test. I ignored the compression in my lungs that suffocated me.
“Get out,” I hissed. Sam ducked his head before looking up to stare me in the eyes.
“Are you okay?” he whispered, his gaze locking mine. I was unable to speak for a moment; my throat was contracting and suffocating me. I wanted to nod, to forgive him, but I couldn’t. He brought too much pain to me. I narrowed my eyes at him and pointed at the door.
“Get out!” I yelled again. He looked as though he was going to protest, but seeing my expression, he closed his mouth and walked out the door. It swung shut behind him, but for a good measure, I yanked it back open and slammed it. Hard. It rattled on it’s
hinges before settling back into place. A few new cracks formed on it’s edges.
I could only see a red haze blinding my eyes. Every nerve in my body was alert, feeling everything and causing my emotions to run haywire. I sucked in a few deep breaths, but that didn’t stop my teeth from shaking or my eyes to sting from the bittersweet rage. I opened my mouth to scream, to yell, but nothing came out except for a whoosh of air.
I wasn’t sure what happened next, but I woke up in my bed with a cup of still warm hot chocolate by my bedside table. I wasn’t sure who put it--or me, for that matter--in my room, but my chest decompressed and my body stopped shaking. I stared at the hot chocolate and saw pieces of cinnamon clinging to the edges of the cup.
My anger dissolved, but nothing replaced it. I took a sip of the drink, willing for it to fill me up. To taint me with the sweetness that came with it. But as the hot liquid slid down my throat, I only felt a burning in my stomach that could not be extinguished. I finished the drink and stared out of one of the few windows in my room.
My mind wandered to times where I would run in the forest and feel free. I could feel the wind in my hair and know that nothing could harm me when I was in that state.
But that time was gone. Along with everything that life stood for.
I felt like a caged—in bird, waiting for something to set me free. I was watching the lock to that cage, my muscles tensed for when it would finally slide open.
My mind wandered back towards Sam and the arrow that shot through my chest the moment I heard his voice in the down stairs living room. I easily could have ignored him and left him alone, but I could convince myself of anything. And when I’m swayed once, it’s hard to sway me back.
Something cold slithered down my spine and I was paralyzed in place, a sudden realization stilling every nerve in my body.
Because the cage door was never locked. I just made it that way. Sam held the door open for me every day after our break up. He tried to heal me, to get me back on my feet. And it started to work before I turned into a monster. Then, with my bitterness, I had added chains to my prison. I nailed the door shut. Chained it closed. Made sure nothing could penetrate me in my misery. I went to New York to heal, but the further I separated myself from the people that could help me, the more damage I did.
My heartbeat was faint and the blood drained from my face. My cold, numb hands that were still holding the cup fell to my sides and the cup fell to the ground where it smashed into pieces. I looked down at the mess below me, uncomprehending.
I was suddenly too tired. At least six years worth of reflections just dawned on me at that moment. I didn’t fight my eyelids and they sealed themselves shut and didn’t protest as my head landed on the mattress. I ignored the warning of the dreams that were surely to come as I fell asleep.
When I woke up I was surprised to notice that my sleep was dreamless. I didn’t care enough to be thankful. Instead I rolled out of bed. As I fell to the ground, I realized that I had forgotten the shards of the ceramic cup. But as I hit the ground, I only felt the wood. I looked around the room and saw that they were removed from the floor.
From my window that was facing the driveway I saw that my mother’s car was there. At that moment I felt more compassion for my mother than I ever had before. Taking care of me even when I was being a monster…Tears stung my eyes as I picked myself off the ground.
The door creaked open and my head whipped around to see who was at my door. When I saw my mother, I couldn’t help but smile. She smiled back, but kept half of her outside of my room. She looked as though she was expecting World War Three.
“Leah,” she started wearily. I nodded eagerly. “I completely forgot to pack Seth a lunch today and you know how hungry he always is. Can you maybe bring it to him?” I was so full of gratitude that I instantly agreed. Relieved, my mother handed me a large paper bag filled to the brim.
I drove all the way to Newton’s Outfitter before I remembered who Seth’s boss was. But Seth already saw me from the inside of the store and was eyeing the large bag that was in the passenger seat. Well, I already embarrassed him in front of his boss, the least I could do was bring him his food. And bosses don’t usually hang around their business…do they?
I wearily opened the door and cringed when I heard the bells jingle. But I didn’t see anyone with blonde hair running towards me, so I assumed I was safe. I let out my held breath and was able to relax a bit.
I walked past the many aisles of camping equipment before I made it to the counter where Seth was manning the cash register. He smiled shyly at me before yanking the food out of my hands. We stared at each other, unsure of what to say before Seth broke the silence.
“Sorry about being nasty to you last night,” Seth muttered. “I thought Mike was mortified. But when I came in this morning, he wouldn’t stop asking about you,” he laughed. “I’m a little concerned about his taste in women, but please, come around more often. Maybe I will get a promotion,” he teased. I laughed along with him, not voicing my obvious objections to that plan (and ignoring the summersaults my stomach was doing).
I was never going to see Mike again. And I planned on sticking to that plan.
I formed a quick reply. “Yeah, and I’m sorry for acting like a freak. I don’t know what came over me.” Well, that was only half true. “But…Mike’s not here now, is he?” I asked meekly. Please say no…
“Leah!” My hopes sank to the bottom of the ocean, but my heart soared above the clouds. I felt as though I was going to be torn apart.
Seth was looking at me funny, probably because of the look of dread that washed over me.
“Leah,” Mike repeated. He appeared in front of me, a large grin across his face. I stared at him, my mind going blank. Mike glanced over at Seth and saw the bag of food. “Oh, so I see you brought Seth some food,” he noted.
Great…now he’s going to think I am some kind of good person.
“Uh…yeah,” I agreed, not thinking of anything else to say. We stood there for a few moments before Mike leaned on the counter. My hand twitched and I almost stumbled forward towards him. I swallowed before forcing Sam’s face into my mind. That would keep me distracted from Mike. But when the anger from the events of the morning resurfaced, I pushed the reminder back into the farthest corner of my brain. Me experiencing anger so close to a human was not a good idea.
“So, how long are you staying in La Push?” he asked. Too long.
“Only a few more days,” I coughed. Mike nodded and his tousled hair fell right over his bright blue eyes. I think I swooned. My hand reached behind me to steady myself, but that only knocked a box of fake firewood to the floor. My face instantly turned bright red and I stumbled forwards to pick it up.
“Oh, I’ll get it,” Mike volunteered. I stood back up, wrapping my arms around my chest.
While Mike leaned over, I couldn’t help but notice how well his jeans fit his backside. I think I was ogling because Seth was looking at me funny. Realizing exactly what I was doing, I averted my eyes, blushing even more.
Snap out of it, Leah.
Mike straitened back up, his face a little flushed from leaning over. Instead of admiring how cute this was, I thanked him quickly and ran out of the store. I felt a pull in my chest with every step. My feet made a rhythmic sound against the uneven concrete and I heard doubts concerning my very unstable sanity start to sound in my head. My legs and arms were like Jell-O when I reached the car.
I felt so weak. I had to run from everything, didn’t I? But why did I have to run? Why couldn’t I just face things head on? I remembered my realization from earlier, but I shook my head to dismiss the idea. I was in an unstable mood. I just had to calm down and everything would go back to normal. I could live far away from the source of my pain. I could surely free the chains without someone else. I was stronger than that. I wanted to be Leah Clearwater and nobody else without anyone else. And I was so sure I couldn’t do that around Sam or Mike.
But as I drove home, a single thought kept nagging my mind: Who exactly was Leah Clearwater?