Okay, so, I was going to make last chapter a real one, but I realized how much I didn't like it. Ugh. So, I'm going to force myself to write a better one since you all deserve it for reading my story. Sorry...it's been a month and four days since I last posted it, and it will probably be August 1st before this goes through and is approved. SO....please enjoy!
I wasn't especially happy about marrying at my young age--but what other choice did I have? It felt like the old movies and books. No sixteen-year-old in their right mind would get married. That's how destructive relationships were formed. But, then again, most sixteen-year-old wouldn't be marrying a handsome bachelor who was nine years older than them.
I visited Marion a few times more, somewhat at peace with myself. I didn't understand why she would steal a necklace and lie about it, but after Nana's death life was just too short to go on without your friends. She accepted me with open arms, and the end of her sentence grew closer. There would be a hearing, and if the judge saw it fit, she could spend another ten years in prison. Or, she could be released on parole. I hoped for the second scenario.
In a town as small as our's, word traveled quickly. Soon everyone knew of my engagement. I tried my best to smile at them as they stared, dumfounded, at me. It made me feel as if I were making the wrong decision. Brandon was one of the accusers, so-to-speak. He only spoke to me when needed. He talked to Phillip even less, if that was possible. He just stayed in his room. It was like he had died or something. I couldn't help but sometimes remember his words to me that difficult day of Nana's death.
I love you, Ellie. Please believe me.
I wished I could. But those words, the whole speech, brought me back to a terrifying week I would rather not think about. I cried a lot, and Phillip held me as I did so. He didn't mind that I soiled everything within reach with my tears. He just loved me.
We planned a funeral while Nana's body was scheduled for an autopsy. She was awfully young to have died--only fifty-four. Yes, she was a bit heavyset but that never contributed to health problems before in her life. I wondered.
At last the body was delivered to a funeral home, and the corner stopped at our door. He looked grimm, almost dissapointed, with the news he had. His eyes were pulled down at the corners, as was his thin mouth. His sideburns looked grayer than when I had seen him before, only two weeks ago.
"We found excessive amounts of...cold medicine...in her body," he said with a sigh. "It looks like she meant to die."
"Like...suicide?" I managed to spit out, stagaring back a step. "She wouldn't have!" Tears smarted in the corners of my eyes. "She loved me, don't you understand? She wouldn't have done that to anybody!"
Phillip grabbed my hand, towing me into the next room. I was surprised to see anger on his face. He sighed impatiently.
"Ellie...stop behaving like a child! She died, she killed herself. It's what happened. Now, come with me and thank the corner."
I shook my head stubbornly. "I won't!"
His mouth opened in surprise. "Yes, Eleanor, you will!"
"I. Don't. Believe. Him." I spat, pulling free from Phillip's grasp. His hand had left a red mark on my wrist. I rubbed the sore area with a frown. "She wouldn't have done that. You didn't know her like I did."
"Then what? Someone forced the medicine on her?"
"Yes," I said with conviction. "And I'm going to find out who." With that, I marched into my room, slamming the door behind me. It was then I fell apart, sobbing yet again. You'd think by now I would've run out of tears. Such was not the case.
Brandon seemed generally unsurprised at the verdict when I told him late that evening. He shrugged carelessly, turning away to go back into the area that seemed more a prision than a safer haven. I stopped him, grabbing the back of his shirt.
"Brandon," I whispered softly, sighing. It wasn't a happy sound.
He turned around, and I dropped my hand.
"Why are you being like this?" I looked at his face that seemed to be chiseled from stone. His eyes had gone flat black, almost lifeless. "It hurts me to see you be so...lifeless."
"Twilight said the same thing about Bella," he sneered, turning away once more.
"Yeah?" I asked, desperate to save the situation. "Because that was a story! This is real. I've known you my whole life. I care about you."
"If you cared about me!" Brandon said, shaking with anger. "Then you wouldn't be marrying that cheat and lie in the first place."
"Why is everyone against Phillip!" I cried, turning away and grabbing a fistful of my hair.
"Because everyone knows what he really is!" Brandon yelled, stepping closer to me. "He's going to hurt you, Ellie. So much that I'm afraid you'll never heal! Ever!"
"You said you loved me!" I cried thoughtlessly, then threw my hand over my mouth.
"What?" Brandon gasped, coming up short. He stepped away. "When did I say that?"
"The night Nana died," I said. I was crying now. "You promised you would marry me and take me away. If you really loved me, you would've done that by now!"
"You were...asleep..." He stuttered.
I shook my head in disbelief, turning away. "Fine. If you're going to be like that, then-"
Suddenly he spun me around, facing him. Before I could protest Brandon pressed his lips against mine. I froze instantly, then relaxed as he pulled away mere seconds later. I stepped back a bit, surprised to find him smiling.
And then, it abruptly dissapeared.
"Ellie?" Someone asked with a gasp behind me. I turned around to face Phillip. My hand extended toward him, in apology. I pulled it back when he strode toward me. His fist connected with Brandon's face, sending him to the ground. I could do nothing but scream.
"You don't kiss her!" Phillip yelled, towering over the bleeding boy. Brandon frowned at Phillip, holding his nose. I kept screaming despite the fact that neither of them looked ready for a fight. I was frightened.
Phillip spat a number of swear words in that moment, causing my shock to subside. Instead it was replaced with anger as he continued spitting harsh words. I stepped away from him, tugging on Brandon's shirtsleeve. Slowly, we backed into his bedroom, in the eyes of the lion. In this case, the bad-guy was Phillip. He lurched toward us, but we slammed the door in time. With a click, it was locked.
I folded my arms over my chest, glaring away from Brandon. He went over and sat sheepishly on his small bed, grabbing a stray tissue from the floor and holding it to the swelling area. Instictevly I bent over him, examining the spot. It was purple-and-blue, but other than that it seemed straight.
After several minutes the gushing blood slowed and came to a stop. I paced anxiously the whole time, not daring to speak a word. At last, we heard the front door slam shut. I sighed, relaxing my tense muscles.
"You shouldn't have kissed me," I said strictly.
"Yeah? Well your boyfriend just went on a rampage and almost hurt us both!"
"Fiancee," I corrected bluntly, causing Brandon to cringe. "And it was only because you kissed me! Why would you kiss me?"
Brandon shook his head. "I'm not going to say sorry, because I don't regret it. I did what I felt was right. Take it or leave it."
"I'm leaving it!" I exploded, darting across the room. I reached for the door, but found it to still be locked. My eyes raked the room, looking for the key to let me out of this uncomfortable place. There it was, in Bradon's shirt pocket.
He was quicker than me. With a roll, he was on the floor, and I on his bed. I sighed, brushing my hair out of my eyes, and leaped down. I missed tackling him by the fewest of inches. Then we were running, and suddenly, I was dreaming.
My hair glittered in the sunlight as I dashed around his yard. I was ten, and Brandon was eleven. He smiled at me, catching one of my braids, and brushing it against my freckled cheek. His brown hair flopped into his eyes boyishly, and I was glad he was my friend.
"You look nice, Ellie!" He said, taking off again. I chased after him, through the forest. We came to a stream and, without hesitation, he jumped in. I hesitated.
"What? You give up?" He demanded, crossing his arms. The water was up to his neck. It looked menacing as it swirled and frothed.
"N-no," I mumbled softly, shuffling my feet. "It looks deep."
His face softened, and he held his arms out. "It's okay. Jump."
"No!" I gasped, stepping back. "I'll drown."
"Ellie," he said with impatience. "Jump. I'll catch you."
I leaned back on the balls of my feet nervously. Without thinking about it, I heaved myself off the side. The water was pleasently warm as it washed around me. My feet found the bottom, and I pushed up. I surfaced, seeing Brandon had indeed kept his promise. His arms were wrapped around me, protective. I smiled.
"Told you!" He said with a grin. "I'll catch you when you need me, Ellie."
I was laughing, something I hadn't done for a long time, as we played cat-and-mouse. We darted across the room, over the bed, and skidded across the hardwood flooring. Suddenly he went out the open window. I heard a thump, and then his laughter.
I peeked out, stopping as I saw the ground. It was six or seven feet below--a distance I wasn't too fond of jumping. But he was there, arms out.
"Do you give up?" He demanded with a smile, flashing the key. "Because then you'll never get out of there!"
"I don't," I said curly. "It looks too high. I'm not stupid and I don't want to break anything."
He smiled, ever so slightly. "It's okay. Jump."
"No!" I said with finality. "I won't!"
"Ellie," he said softly, making my heart stutter and skip a beat. "Jump. I'll catch you."
It was the same words spoken all those years ago, yet they had a stronger significance. He was right. He would catch me. He caught me when my parents died, and when Nana died. He caught me when Phillip broke my heart, and when I broke my own heart.
It would break again if I didn't let him catch me. That much I knew.
Thinking of this, I heaved myself up and out the window. The fall wasn't unpleasent, for it was short. When I landed, a bit jarred, he was holding me. I smiled, but didn't struggle to get down.
"I told you!" He said, grinning full-on now. "I'll catch you when you need me to, Ellie."
Suddenly we both sobered. We were close now, too close, and it was making me afraid. His face was still just a short distance apart. With a shaky breath, I stood on my own feet. Slowly, I stretched up on my toes. And, very shyly, I kissed him.
It lasted more than just a few seconds this time, but I didn't mind. Fireworks seemed to be going off all around me. Ringing sounded in my ears. It was as if they had been stuffed with cotton for the longest of times. I closed my eyes, seeing brilliant colors behind me. The bright reds took the shape of a heart, making my own beat unevenly.
At last, we pulled away, perfectly in synch. I kept my eyes closed, savoring the moment. That's how I should have felt when I was with Phillip. But I didn't.
"Brandon?" I whispered very quietly. "I think I love you."
I felt him take my face in his hands. He ran his thumbs over my cheekbones. Still, I refused to open my eyes. It might shatter this perfection.
"I know I love you."
And then there was a click.
I opened my eyes with confusion, wondering where the sound had come from. Brandon's eyes were wide with disbelief and fear. I had never seen him look so...helpless. I stared at him with confusion, then understood the danger seemed to be lurking behind us. Slowly, I turned, registering the scene.
Phillip, his face red with anger. Phillip, clutching as his chest as if it had been broken in two. Phillip, giving me a look that would surely have killed me if such was possible. Phillip, a wiked, sickening smile stretching across his face. Phillip, eyes widened. Phillip, making the scariest expression worse than that of any horror movie character.
Phillip, holding a gun.