Blue & Green

15

"And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

Chloe glared at the red spot in the gusset of her panties, willing it away by sheer willpower but it remained, taunting her. Her day had started off crappy and this was icing on the cake. With a sigh, she sat back down and leaned over, tearing off several pieces to stuff in her pants.

Satisfied she wouldn't bleed through, she pulled her pants back up and headed out, intent on washing her hands. "Chloe," a voice said as she pumped her hands full of hand-soap, "where have you been?" The door banged open and several freshman flooded in, chattering and giggling among themselves.

"I...some stuff came up," Chloe replied quietly, swallowing hard as she thought of the shoe-box full of letters, the pitch-dark anger that blackened her uncle's face, the unsure concern of her aunt, her own unease and terror, Derek's fierce protectiveness. The letters had stopped for the time being, but a new object had been finding its way into her locker at school now.

A single, red rose each day sat atop her books and binders, the petals not yet wilted. There was never a note to go along with the flower, but her gut told her it was the same bastard who sent her those letters. So it was someone from her school. Or someone who knew where her locker was and her combination and when she wasn't at her locker.

A hand touched her shoulder, gentle and kind, but she jerked away all the same as though she'd been struck and watched her stepsister's dark eyes in the mirror. The face that had once been so comforting, as familiar as the back of her hand, was a still of worry and unease. "Chloe," Rae said softly, "I know what's been going on. Your aunt told my mom and your dad. Who do you think it was?"

Chloe didn't have any words. Her mouth was dry, and her eyes burned. This was the last thing she wanted to talk to Rae about, but she couldn't help herself from shuddering away from the softer girl. Mute, she shook her head and looked down at her feet as she turned on the faucet.

Pain throbbed in twin points behind her eyes. She thought she'd felt helpless in the suffocating, empty expanse of her house — that...that was nothing compared to the hollow, all-consuming terror that struck her paralyzed when she thought of the sick fuck leaving her roses. She swallowed hard against the painful lump closing up her throat as she shivered.

"Chloe," her stepsister whispered, velvet-crushed agony.

Chloe ran her tongue along the inside of her teeth, tasting the blood there. She'd bitten something, and she could see Rae's dark figure hovering, uncertain behind her, and her eyes filled with the hot sting of tears. "I don't know." It came weak, a wounded animal plea, and her voice shook so she closed her mouth.

Rae's hand touched her arm, and she pulled away. "You can talk to me." There was an inviting gleam in her eyes, and the blonde couldn't help but remember the last time she'd seen her, eyes bloodshot, stumbling, warbling something during the funeral.

"No. I can't."

She couldn't breathe, and every little bit she did manage to squeeze through was too short, and her hands shook.

Rae's voice turned acidic and wounded. "You don't trust me?" she said quietly, her dark gleaming eyes boring into Chloe, and the blonde shook her head, stumbling backwards. The faucet was still running, soap dripping from her hands, but she was heading towards the push door so she couldn't go and wash her fingers off.

The shorter girl licked her lips, tasting blood. "N-no, that's not — that's not it, Rae, and you know it," she croaked, her voice raspy, but the dark-haired girl wasn't listening — or maybe she just didn't care, Chloe wasn't sure.

"Of course it is," Rae pressed, her voice deathly calm, cool, and it sent shivers up Chloe's back, "I'm just Royce's druggie ex-girlfriend. I deserve what happened to him, don't I? It's payback for what happened at your mom's funeral."

Any breath in the blonde's lungs caught in her throat on the way out, thick and painful, a lump, and she shook her head. Her eyes burned. "That's n-not —"

"My own mom wasn't around. Your mom was the closest thing to having one. You weren't the only one hurting, Chloe! God damn it, I lost her too! But you were too busy sucking face with Derek and garnering everyone's attention to notice." Rae was advancing, and Chloe was retreating, her back against the door now.

"Sucking face? It's not like that." Chloe hated how tiny and meek and scared she sounded. Tears ran down her face, snot dripping from her nose.

"Keep telling yourself that." Rae inhaled sharply and leaned away, her eyes narrow. "I know you hadn't really forgiven me. Nobody has. It was all a lie!" With a snarl, she stalked closer and pushed Chloe with her shoulder as she shoved open the door without a glance back.

Chloe sat there in the middle of the hallway for the longest time before her lungs worked again, and she gasped and panted for breath. Shaking sobs shook her body.

"Hey, are you okay?"

She looked up to find a man with curling dark hair and familiar, pale-green eyes standing over her with a concerned look on his striking face. Instead of replying, she could only cry.

Game on, the man thought as he spotted Chloe sprawled across the ground, crying. He would teach the dark-haired whore a lesson soon—right now, his angel needed him.

"Hey, are you okay?" he asked, watching as she simply curled in on herself, trying to vanish it appeared. Oh, my girl, he sighed in his head as he knelt down and allowed her to cry.

Soon enough, she'd be his.

Permanently.