"Are you coming tonight?"
That was supposed to be an innocent question, right? It was nothing to be bothered about, Jay couldn't possibly have evil intentions. I mean, they had been together for a while, and Jay had never shown any signs of being a psychopath or anyone potentially dangerous. Right?
"Lara, calm down, don't freak out. That was Jay, your best friend, fiancé actually. He's always wanted the best for you", Lara mumbled to herself, almost like she was reciting some self-taught incantations. She mumbled the same words over and over again, but they did not in the least calm her nerves.
Lara couldn't hold back the tears. And the screams followed as her mind began to play pictures and videos of how she had been molested by her high school classmate. He had been her only friend at the time, she wasn't the most social student. People only flocked to her because she was smart, and once the exams were over, they were gone. But Ben had stuck close by her side.
One day, during the summer vacation, he had invited her for a night out with the guys. Lara had been reluctant, and had brushed off the topic, but, as he walked away that evening, he had looked back at her and asked again, "Are you coming tonight?" Lara had looked into the eyes of her only friend, and she had said "yes".
It was not until later that night that she had realized her tragic mistake. They had taken turns on her helpless body and left her almost life-less. Her mum had almost died of a heart attack. She had been withdrawn from school due to her scholastic decline and persistent night mares and panic attacks. Her life had taken a dramatic, dark turn, and there had been no remedy.
She was going crazy, and she had no idea where or who to run to. She knew her mum loved her so much, but she also knew that her persistent panic attacks were taking a huge toll on her health, and her pocket. Her mum was freaking out almost more than she was. She held her so close and would not let anyone get near her. Then she had to pay for therapy sessions almost every other day, and that was not cheap. Her dad would have been the stronger support system but he was dead.
She was the only child, and that was as much of a disadvantage as it was an advantage. At least now she did not have to worry about the funds for the care of her other siblings, but that also meant that she was lonely whenever her mum had to leave for work. And that she had to face all the devastating nightmares alone sometimes, as well as the flashbacks and the illusions.
When it continued to grow worse for over 8 months, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She used to find herself very depressed and considering suicide sometimes, and other times, she just felt high and elated. Her mum was having a hard time understanding her and so she had taken her back to the Psychiatrist who had made the diagnosis and given her some medications. And that had been her life since then.
She had begun to improve when she met Jay. Jay had been everything and more to her. They became best of friends, and he had fallen in love with her. She, on the other hand was being extra careful, watching his every move, questioning almost all of his kind gestures, just trying to be sure she had not fallen into another trap. Even though deep within her, she knew that his intentions were pure, she couldn't help but tremble at the kind of love he showed her sometimes. It was something she had never experienced before.
The last straw on the camel's back had been shattered when Jay singlehandedly worked with the police, investing a lot of time and money, until Ben was sent to jail alongside all the guys that had taken turns in raping her that night. She had felt extremely satisfied and had begun to warm up more to Jay. She had begun to trust him more. She had let herself all loose on him and allowed him take care of her. And she had accepted his proposal.
Today, they had been making wedding plans when he told her of a night out with the crew. His crew wasn't just guys, but the guy-to-girl ratio was devastatingly high, and as much as she had tried to warm up to them, she still felt afraid. She had avoided every other hangout before their engagement and Jay had stopped inviting her altogether, but now that she felt more safe in his hands, he had decided to try again. And she had brushed it aside.
On getting to her front yard, he had remembered that they had not come to an agreement on if she was coming and so he had called out to her to ask. The rest they say, was history.
Lara had ended up in the Emergency Room. Jay sat beside her, devastated, and in tears. He of all people should have known not to say those exact same words. She had recounted her experience quite a number of times and she had always placed so much emphasis on that part of the narrative, almost like a subtle signal saying "Don't you ever say those words to me!" But could he really be blamed? Those were normal words a regular person could blurt out off the top of their heads with little or no thought to it. And that was exactly what had happened.
Lara opened her eyes. She looked to the side and saw Jay, deep in thoughts. She wondered what he was thinking so deeply about. She couldn't help but notice how handsome he looked, even when he was worried. She began to reminisce on how good he had been to her, the depth of love he had shown her, and how he had been so eager to spend the rest of his life with her - the girl with Bipolar Disorder. I mean, who would want to keep up with all the demands of keeping her stable, to run with her to the ER after making a harmless statement? But here he was, sitting right there. He had never for once, seen her as a burden.
"Fairytales must be a real thing", Lara said out loud, startling Jay. He looked up, and they both laughed.
"I've missed seeing your beautiful eyes open. I'm sorry I caused you to end up here", Jay said.
"I love you, Jay."
"I've waited a thousand years to hear you say those words. I love you, so much more".