Accidental Fight

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Before we can wander any more, I put a hand on Mike's chest and stop everybody. ?Look, you guys. We need to know where we're going to stay with, or where, right now. I'm not waiting any longer. This is getting ridiculous.?

?What the hell do you want us to do, Bridget?? Lina says through closed teeth.

?I'm not asking you to do anything,? I respond without thinking. ?All you do is flirt with my brother like some ditzy slut!?

Sh**.

Lina's face flares up and she closes in on me. ?What did you just say?? she challenges.

?Look Lina, I don't-?

Lina shoves me and I stumble backwards. ?Want to say it again, bi***??

Anger pulses me to respond with physical contact. I slap her cheek with surprisingly strong force. ?I'm not the one who goes and skanks with the first guy I see!?

A sharp pain occurs in my shin and I see Lina's foot retreeting. I try to hit her back, but her fist is suddenly coming toward my face. I blink in near slow-motion, but can't move.

Everything changes color.

The next thing I see is Lina's fist about to hit me again. But, it doesn't make contact. Instead, I'm slammed out of the way and onto the ground. I land on my wrist and it twists in a wrong position. I screech out in pain.

But I'm not the only one shocked. As it would appear, Lina's just punched Mike in the stomach. He's standing where I just was. He towers over Lina, glaring down on her.

?Get the hell away from my sister,? he commands fiercely.

Lina trembles away from him and into Carolina. ?I-I didn't mean-? she stutters.

Carolina squeals and tosses Lina away from her. She runs away. I stand up, my legs feeling like creme brul饮 I back up and trip away to a wall, which is right under a road of cars. I lean my head against it and try to breathe. My head is screaming, my shin is throbbing, and my wrist feels like a million knives are stabbing through it. My eyes close.

I can hear them bickering, but I don't focus on their words. This is a bit much.

Minutes later, that feel like centuries, I hear a loud man's voice. That's not Mike's. My eyes fly open.

A really scary man in a uniform stares at Mike, speaking with him in French. Mike holds up his hands in innocence, obviously trying to dumb the situation down. I start to walk over to help, but Mike shoots me a warning glance. I move closer, not looking, but close enough to hear.

?Je suis tr賠d鳯l鬠monsieur. Nous 鴩ons-?

(I'm very sorry, sir. We were-)

?Comment t'appeles-tu, petit gar篮??

(What's your name, little boy?)

?Je m'appelle Pete Edo, monsieur, mais je le promets que ne pas-?

(My name is Pete Edo, sir, but I promise this won't-)

?Si tu plais, gar篮. Je vais...?

(Please, boy. I'm going to...)

I don't understand the rest. I walk past them and decide to look for Carolina as a distraction.

I check back at the restaurant and then see her down by the harbor. She sits on some rocks, looking into the greasy, blue water.

?Hey, Car,? I mumble, going to sit by her.

I lean on my wrist to sit down and a sharp pain shoots up my arm. I gasp, clutching it. Unfortunately, not holding onto anything sends me flying back onto more rocks. My left leg falls into the water and splashing my clothes. My back feels bruised.

I don't say anything. I just sigh.

Carolina is staring at me, looking as if many thoughts are going through her head.

?Contemplating?? I guess, not moving at all.

She smiles weakly. ?Yeah.?

?'Bout what?? I rasp.

She glances back towards Lina and Mike.

?Look, I'm really sorry,? I apologize sincerely, finally sitting up a little with a wince. I do feel pretty sh***y about the whole situation.

?It's okay. It's Lina I'm worried about.?

?Has she done anything like this before??

?Yes. This is the third time. Each time, she's promised not to do it again.?

?It's my fault,? I lie.

?No it isn't. Don't pretend like you blame yourself. There's nothing I can do or say to that girl to help her. She's really messed up sometimes. I feel like she's withering away. A fading painting in a slowly-burning building. She doesn't realize she's on fire... she's just burning slowly. Piece by piece.?

I stare out at the glowing horizon. My stomach turns. ?I shouldn't have hit her back.?

?No,? she agrees.

?I'm just as bad as her. I just wanted to take all this angst out on someone. And she's the perfect one... the girl I want to be. The girl who can have silly love and bliss without a care.?

?You don't want to be like her,? Carolina assures me. ?She's a depressed girl. Her parents don't love her, she lets people use her, and she's a toy for all males willing. She's not happy.?

?But I don't even have the confidence to act sleazy. At least she's got the confidence.?

?She has no confidence, Bridget.?

?So you say.?

Carolina's eyes turn to paper slits. ?I'm not kidding. Don't be stupid.?

?I am stupid.?

?Have you even ever had a boyfriend??

?Just one.?

?What was he like??

?He was wonderful. But he died. Beat up after school.?

?I'm so sorry... How old were you??

I look away again, staring at my own dark violet-bobbed hair. ?Three years ago. I was sixteen.?

?Do you want another one??

?Of course I do. Not necessarily a boyfriend, but just someone to have fun with.?

Carolina nods. ?I understand.?

We sit in silence until the sun goes down. By now, Mike and Lina have left the cop. They're looking for us. Too bad.

I feel strangely thankful for Carolina's presence. Without it, I'd probably be sulking in a corner.

?Bridget!? Mike yells.

I turn to him.

?Get your a** down here! Now!?

I stand. Carolina stands. Side by side, we walk into the new form of our quiet tranquility.

Maybe I can finally apologize for so much...





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