“It’s you. I’m telling you, it is you.” Katie announced whilst concentrating on Gemma’s puzzled face.

“What is me?” I answered in response as I picked at my toast.

“You are too scared of following your rules that you’ve forgotten yourself.” Uttered Katie.

“What rules? I haven’t made any rules,” I sighed, knowing she was right.

Katies eyes snaked and slithered along the list set on my fridge. The boldest of them all was, “No Boyfriend!” Covering my face in response, she rubbed my back, “Fine Gemma, no talk of boyfriend. But we need to take all that dependence out of you or else you will end up being a slob like Parsen.” We both turned to Parsen who sat in the living room, he was as tragic as he could get.

Guess I’d better introduce him, Parsen is a 24 year old, aroused, self centred brother, to put it in its kindest words: slob. He wasn’t a literal slob, he was a mess in the brain. I was NOT going to become him.

“I’ll make a list,” I divulged. “A list of all the stuff I want to do, and do them.”

“Yes! Does that mean we can get matching tattoos on our wrists?” She squealed as I nodded in response.

“But I’ll get a full body as well.” I declared triumphantly sticking to my choice.

“Are you sure, since your mum... I mean will Carrie mind?” She mumbled as she flushed a scarlet shade.

She was called Carrie, my stepmom and Shane, my stepdad. Which also meant Parsen the parsnip was not my blood bound brother. Yes laugh like the kids at school. Laugh like all my ex boyfriends did, well that’s why their called ex’s.

“No she won’t mind, not like she actually would care. I am 19 anyway, I am going to be leaving the house in a week so I’ll get it then.” I whispered into Katie’s ears as we made little noise as we could, or the parsnip would listen in on us.

The parsnip once asked Katie out and they both stayed together for 5 hours. God knows what they did in that time. He would have killed me, but I doubt that because I would’ve killed myself first!

First on my list:

“You sure you want to get that design?” Katie asked for like the millionth time.

“Yes, I am sure. I love the designs.” I responded. I decided to get a full leg, a full back, one on the chest, one on the neck, a full arm and one arm clear with just a matching one with Katie.

The full leg: a green snake wrapped around its claws as it showed a dagger with roses scattered around it. The snakes intricate designs had a golden glint along with curves (just like me). The full back: had my name written on with fancy letters and hearts. The hearts were spread with inky blackness that hid what lay deep underneath. My full arm had another snake wrapped around, however this one was a flashy silver with small words written inside the scales. Some said love, some said important people in my life, some said quotes and some said, ‘Never lose yourself.’ The other arm had two hearts, one said Gemma and one said Katie. My neck and the chest was the most painful part, my neck had the letters in French, ‘Foutre la camp.’ My chest had the words, ‘Love the ones who love, ignore the ones who hate, hate the ones who be b**h**!’ Also said by Katie.

Second on my list:

Running up to the door, I knocked twice as the chilly air numbed my fingers. I looked back at Katie who encouragingly nodded her head. “Hey Nathan, I know you are in there! Stop avoiding me.” I shouted through the door.

Suddenly the door opened to a young lady standing at the doorstep. “Sorry Nathan’s out. Can I help you with anything?” She plastered on her best fake smile as she stared at the boldness of my neck, leg and arms. She scoffed bitterly.

“Yeah, tell him to **** off, oh and...” I did the unthinkable as I demonstrated for her to flip the birdie at him. Howling I ran into the car to leave her surprised at the door. Pressure on the gas, we skidded out of town.

Third on my list:

“Thank you. That’ll be 600 quid in cash but since I feel very happy today, you can get it for 300 quid” James spoke as I fluttered my eyelashes at him. Handing the cash over, I took the bad boy for a spin around town and maybe get fined.

Roaring up the engine, I gave them a little to show. You wanted independence Katie, you’ve got it comin at ya. I felt the wind shake off of me, it was incomparable to my thunder. It was such a beauty. I took it all the way to Katie’s house. Knocking on the door, I removed my helmet.

Opening the door, she squealed so loud and started jumping up and down whilst hugging me. “Let’s take it on a spin, please.” She roared. I bobbed my head up and down in response.

Fourth on my list:

Stretching my arms out in suspense, Katie shouted, “Just do it already!” Everyone laughed as their eyes focused on my hair. Steven pulled off the black bag and faced me as if I were a new person. “Just a beauty, I have no words!” My hair was a jet black to fiery red towards the tips. I loved it!

“Well I do, pizza is on me everyone.” I cheered as the staff and my friends walked off to my house. “Katie, come here for a second.”

“Katie, I’m going to go somewhere for a bit, an errand to pick for Carrie, as usual. You take everyone to the house, pizza should already be there by now, take the cash and I’ll be there later, Okay.” I whispered as she cheered in a loud voice, “Pizza!”

Fifth on my list and hopefully last:

Sitting on the edge of the cliff, I looked beyond the stars. The depth written inside them told me about mum and dad. I sniffled and sobbed. “You know, they say, sharing with another takes off the stress, Brandon by the way.”

Peering around, I saw a dark, hooded figure sit by me. Looking up at his face, he smiled in response but his eyes told the same story. “Gemma, If only you tell yours as well.”

“What makes you think I have a story to tell?” He sorrowfully said.

“I can read you like an open book, something I am good at doing.” I declared as I grinned from side to side. He put his hands out for me to go on.

“When I was little, my parents died. They died in a car accident caused by me. I so badly wanted to go camping. It was here where I wanted to camp... because of the cliff side.” I felt vulnerable yet lightweight at the shoulders. He put a hand on my bare shoulder in support. “We got here, but I went into the forest to hide away from them. It’s what I did when they were fighting. I couldn’t hold on so I screamed loudly. I was so angry at them. I was mental. And then they fell...” I stopped as I felt my whole body shake. Drop by drop, my heart poured out into the river.

“It wasn’t your fault. Don’t worry.” He sympathetically spoke.

“No, but you don’t get it. They fell in, I sat by the cliff until morning. Watching the ocean tides swallow them whole. The rain pounded onto their bodies and I did nothing. Farmer found me the next day, he told police that I was frozen in my death.”

He pitifully looked down on me, I felt it. “I am such an idiot. Why did I just tell you that?” Running away from him, I took my turn to leave, wiping my tears, I ran through the fields. I ran as far as I could until I felt Brandons hand slip into mine and pull me back into a hug. I wept the whole hour, I felt powerless.

We went over my story of ‘independence’ and doing the ‘unknown’ at Nathan’s new girlfriend. We sat cackling until he came over to mine. I insisted. We drove through the driveway and stepped into the house. Nobody was home except for a certain someone’s body on the sofa snuggled next to... Steven. “Eww.” I whispered as I took the full pizza box and led him into the kitchen. “Nice place.” He whispered.

“Why are you whispering?” I whispered.

“Why are you whispering?” He whispered.

“This is getting old!” I whispered.

“You are getting old.” he whispered.

I ran up to the door and closed it, I turned the lights on. Sitting back down onto the chair, I picked at my pizza, lost in my thoughts whilst he just stood there staring at me.

“Cute, tattooed girl. I couldn’t think of a better match.” He grinned slyly as he looked at my face, my lips, my eyes, my nose. His eyes stayed up and didn’t roam anywhere else like other guys did.

“Handsome, beautiful, tattooed, smart, strong boy. I couldn’t think anything else than someone way out of my league. So friends, right.” I bellowed loudly.

Concerned, he stepped closer as he lifted my chin up, “Too bad because I was going to ask you to marry me.” He sarcastically spoke.

“Shut up! You don’t need to be sarcastic, you sack of potatoes. When’s the last time you ever had a girlfriend?” I sarcastically spoke, “Two can play this game!”

“Well, in that case, I’d better get going. Away from you, abandoned, just like your pare....” looking up at me in regret. He knew he said wrong. He knew it but he carried on smiling, unfazed.

Expressionless yet my heart ached at the sudden words, “Guest room, upstairs, on the right. Shouldn’t be too hard. Need anything, just tell me.” Without any word, I latched away from the room and up the stairs. I needed my pencils and paper. I needed my stress relief tools.

Walking into the room, I sat at my desk and skimmed through my phone. Here. Putting in my headphones, I rapped along to NF, the best rapper ever. His song Paid My Dues is a bomber. Rapping on, I drew whatever came to mind. My parents, no I can’t remember what they look like. NF, too cute to be ruined by my awful drawings. A cage. Yes a cage.

What began as a cage, became a prison. A prison that trapped me inside. What felt like hours, I had drawn the perfect setting and started to draw things that came to mind, like the cliff and the stars. Suddenly, I felt a shadow on my back and looking into the windows reflection, I could see him stare at me.

I deliberately ignored him, until he sat on my desk. Taking my headphones out, “Yes. Can I help you?” Shoving the drawings under the other sheets of paper. I eventually found him a blanket whilst he sat lazily on my desk. Handing him the blankets, he pulled my hand close. “Look I’m sorry. I really am.”

“What’s done is done. I’m fine with you. Don’t worry.” I muttered sadly.

I climbed into bed.

That night... I awoke breathless and screaming in my bed, “Mum, mum...” Brandon put me back to sleep. He slipped into my bed and hugged me tightly, afraid to let me go. He didn’t have a crush on me, he cared for me. I admired that about him. “I... I love you.” We both said it at the same time as we looked at each others eyes. He trained his gaze on my eyes but often wandered down on my lips. “Kiss me already!” I shouted.

He chuckled as he kissed me softly but as we got deeper, it became more stronger.

Last on my list:

Brandon lifted me up as we did our I Do’s. “I’m giving you 5 minutes to get ready for me at the hotel. That is it, or then I’ll rip this off of you.” He whispered in my ear as i could tell he was too distracted by me.

“Get him sister!” shouted Katie as the crowd whooped one.

“As long as you kiss me 100 times.” I whispered back, hot and bothered.

“Fine by me, I don’t care how many kisses I have to give, as long as it is just you and me.” He declared as he nibbled at my earlobe. We kissed again as he read my neck, ‘Foutre la camp.’ He raised his eyebrows as I embarrassedly told the meaning. He insisted on getting a matching one on his neck. I grabbed his hand as he grabbed mine. It read: ‘Brandon and Gemma forever. From death till they part.”

Independence? We were just getting started on dependent!

December 14, 2019 22:24

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Cam Croz
15:28 Dec 23, 2019

Really cute and amazing story! It held my attention throughout! Good Job!


Yoomi Ari
22:37 Dec 23, 2019

Thank you So much. It really means a lot when another author comments on someone else’s work. Thank you!


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