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Chapter – 1
“B****es, pack your bags. We’re going on a road trip!” Jessica screamed running up the hallway. Her cheeks were flushed and her long brunette curls flowed after her. Jessica Hawthorne was undoubtedly one of the richest kids in Baldwinsville. She claimed that her dad invented toaster strudel or something, but word was her father was connected with the mob.
You would think that Jessica would be friends with the other rich kids, but she wasn’t. Instead she chose April and Karen as her two companions. She said that she preferred the, down to Earth “financially-challenged” kids to the rich snobby ones.
Jessica was in detention a lot too, and April couldn’t keep her mouth shut so on most Fridays she joined her. It’s not like they were bad kids they just wanted attention. Jessica’s father was always working and her mom was thrown in jail because she went psycho a few years back and smashed a Wegmans cake display. And April just wanted her peers to notice her.
It was just like Jessica to bring up something as trivial as a road trip, in the middle of the school year.
“What?” Karen said. Of course she would be thinking of a vacation over everything else.
“God didn’t you hear me Karen?” She rolled her eyes, “We. Are.Going.On.A .Road. Trip!” she practically sang, tossing her hands in the air like she was going to drop confetti.
“To…” Karen motioned with her hand.
“To Seneca Falls!” She smiled at us like she had just said she booked a cruse in the Caribbean.
April who had been quiet for most of the conversation, unusual for her, had finally perked up. “That’s only an hour long drive, not technically a road trip”.
“Well it’s like a road trip,” she shook her head; “we are going to rent a lake house for a week!”
“If you’re paying I’m in!” April giggled.
“But Jessica what if he is still there,” Karen whispered to her friend. The usual blush in Jessica’s cheeks drained at the thought. She shook her head and regained her composure.
“He won’t be Karen.” She shook her head again as if to reassure herself, “it was so long ago anyways.”
Karen Samuels was Jessica’s very best friend. Her parents had died when she was only a child leaving her in the care of young aunt and uncle. She hated to inconvenience them and as a result was never able to do anything that required money. Karen had worked two jobs since she was fourteen and her schoolwork was unfortunately paying for it.
“Uh, guys,” April interrupted, “hate to be the pessimist here but we have school, its only May.”
“You seriously think I don’t already know that?” Jessica said as she flipped her hair, “it’s called ditching.” The girls’ eyebrows raised both for different reasons.
“How will we get out of school dumba**?” April asked.
Jessica smiled, “Well, there is a college fair in Oklahoma this week.”
“But you said we’re going to Seneca Falls not Oklahoma.” April pointed out confused.
“April, she’s suggesting we tell everyone that we’re going to the college fair, but go to the lake instead.” Karen glanced at Jessica for conformation. She smiled wildly.
“So we’re lying?” April asked, Karen breathed a sigh of relief that she wasn’t the only one who felt wrong ditching school and lying to her parents. “I love it! You truly are brilliant Jessica!” And, Karen was wrong.
Jessica and April clasped hands and started bouncing around in the hallway screeching at the top of their lungs. Final bell had rung long before and the girls technically were supposed to have been out of the building a while ago. A balding teacher passed them and told them to ‘shush,’ they immediately calmed down. April gave the finger to the back of the teacher’s shiny head.
April Woods was a short girl with short hair. Okay so she was pretty much small in every physical way humanly possible. However her personality was a whole other story. She had ADHD, which in non-scientific words meant that she was constantly hyper. April always spoke her mind and if you ticked her off you would never hear the end of it. She was the center of almost all drama in their small school. Sometimes it was a burden being her best friends.
“Okay so when do we leave?” April giggled, her glasses almost falling off of her face.
Jessica smirked, “Well, we don’t want to take of too soon. The fair is next week and starts Tuesday. But we’re going to leave Sunday afternoon.”
“Why would we leave Sunday when the fair doesn’t start until Tuesday?” Karen asked.
Jessica sighed, “Well miss goody-goody, we aren’t really going to the fair so it doesn’t matter and I mean, why bother going to school Monday when we’re not going to be there all week. Our teachers will already know about the trip, we have to submit forms tonight don’t worry I already filled them out and forged your parents signatures, you’re welcome,” she paused to smile, “so since our teachers will already know, if we go to school Monday then we risk the chance of getting homework which none of us would do anyways. It’s that simple!” She stared at us with hopeful eyes.
“Well, err, how are we going to get our parents to agree?” Karen was losing her momentum; she had to find some excuse as to why they couldn’t go. Something about the whole trip just felt…wrong.
“Don’t worry about it ‘mmkay?” Jessica tossed her hair back, “I already told your parents about the college thing and they agreed happily since I kind of fudged the fact that you two would look for scholarships.” She smiled sadly, “Of course I’ll be making two generous donations to the scholarship foundation so you two will have some college expenses taken care of, so don’t be expecting any graduation gifts from me.” She scowled, but because she was half laughing she just looked constipated.
“Anyways, moral of the story your parents are taken care of, they think it’s a surprise that I’m taking you guys that’s why they haven’t said anything to you.” She dug through her Prada bag, real of course, to find her contacts case, Jessica never, and I mean, never, wore her glasses to school. But when it came to driving she insisted that she could see better with them on. “Oh, and by the by,” she smirked, “your each getting five hundred dollars for the ‘hotel room’ we’re staying at. Again I say, you’re welcome!” Jessica just stood there smiling like she was expecting us to thank her and explode in happiness.
“OH.MY.GOD!” April said. Her eyes were bugging out behind her glasses. She looked about as p*ssed as Karen felt. Her face twisted into a grimace, “I cannot believe that you told my mom and not me!” Karen could not believe that she could be so shallow.
Jessica shot April a smirk and they both dissolved into giggles as they walked out of the Main doors of the High School. The more they laughed, the angrier Karen got. She could not believe them.
“Seriously you guys!” Karen finally burst, “Jessica I cannot believe that you could do this! What if I didn’t want to go? Did you ever think of that?” Karen screamed at her. Jessica was shocked, no one ever yelled at Jessica. “Not everyone can afford to blow five hundred dollars on an unconventional Vacation!”
“D*mn Jessica, she told you,” April laughed. Karen turned on her.
“April! You have no room to talk! We cannot afford to p*ss away our money like that! You act like you don’t even care!” Karen was on the verge of tears, for whatever reason her tear ducts were connected directly to any extreme emotion.
They walked in silence to Jessica’s shiny blue Jeep. Jessica was already in the car when April opened the door to the passenger’s side.
Jessica looked at her a gape, “What are you doing?”
“Uh, getting into the car?” April said confused.
Jessica shook her head, “No, Karen is going to sit up front. You rode shot gun on the way here.” And with that April rolled her eyes, and got into the back seat of the expensive car.
When Karen sat down and closed the door Jessica finally looked at her, “I’m sorry that I didn’t check with you guys first. I didn’t realize you would be upset I thought that you would be happy and excited. I can give you the five hundred dollars if you want it. Please say you’ll still come.” Next to homework, apologizing was something that Jessica never did.
Karen sighed, “Jess, I’m sorry too, I didn’t mean to get all worked up. I’ll still come. I’ve been saving up for collage and I have about three thousand dollars, so I guess I can take five hundred out. I mean it shouldn’t be a problem with the scholarship you’re practically giving us.” Karen reached over and hugged her. She was after all Karen’s very best friend, no matter how shallow she may be.
“So, we’re really going to do this guys?” Jessica smiled into the rearview mirror as she was driving them home. Karen looked back at April who in return shot her a smile fit for a crazy person.
“Yes!” they both giggled in excitement and uneasiness, or at least on Karen’s part.
The whole car ride Jessica, April, and Karen gushed about manicures, pedicures, and what the lake house looked like. Ever since Karen had brought up him Jessica kept getting a feeling, almost like a foreboding, that something terrible was going to happen on their trip.
She should have listened.
“Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want,” April screeched.
“So tell me what you want, what you really, really want,” Jessica continued.
“I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna,” Karen called from the back. April looked back at her and smiled as Jessica who was getting ready for the next part of the song looked into the rearview, a smile too, played in her eyes.
“I really, really, really wanna zigazig ah,” the three of them burst into laughter.
“Hey Jess, are we even close to the lake house?” April asked as she unwrapped a Hostess Snow Ball. Jessica looked at her in disgust. With one hand on the steering wheel she reached over, slapped the treat out of her hand and threw it out the open window.
“What the h*ll did I tell you about those things April? They’ll go straight to your a**!” She screamed as she straightened the car out.
“Jessica do you think next time you could keep both hands on the wheel?” Karen asked breathing heavily from the back seat. In her carbohydrate-induced rage Jessica had almost ran off of the street and into several trees. Jessica simply waved her off as she pulled into a residential area.
Huge wasn’t even close to describing the size of the houses that lined the street. They were magnificent, like children’s dollhouses brought to life. The grass was so green it almost glowed and the trees and bushes were neatly shaped. Almost every yard had a small fountain and a breathtaking array of flowers. April gasped in amazement while Jessica and Karen smiled fondly at the familiar houses. Jessica’s house back home was the nicest house anyone had ever seen. But compared to these homes, Jessica’s looked like a chic tent.
“D*mnnn,” April dragged out the word as she was sizing up the million dollar homes. “Jessica please tell me that one of these houses is yours?”
Jessica shifted uncomfortably and continued to stare out the windshield, “We’re getting there. It’s huge don’t worry.” She flipped her hair as she pulled off the road and into the small meadow that lead to a sketchy looking dock. April raised both of her brows at Jessica as she got out of the car and scurried up to the back door of the small boat shack near the edge of the lake.
After a few moments a tired looking old man walked out and gave her a hug. April looked at Karen, not entirely sure of what was going on. Jessica and the man walked back to the car and as they were approaching she motioned for the two girls to get out of the car. Karen and April obliged and walked up to the two.
“Karen, you remember Butch,” Karen smiled kindly at the old man.
“Of course I do,” she said as she hugged him.
Jessica nodded her head and smiled at the old man, “April this is Butch, he’s a family friend and he is going to take us up to the house.” She smiled again.
“Nice to meet you, Butch,” April said politely.
“And you too sweetie,” his gaze switched to the shack as he huffed out a breath, “I’m very sorry. Matthias is always late it’s very rude. Please excuse me ladies.” And with that he trotted down the slope in the meadow that led to the tiny boat shack. Karen and Jessica froze, Matthias, now there was a name they hadn’t heard in a while.
“‘Come on guys, we’ll wait by the water.” Jessica called as she headed to the back of the car retrieving their things.
“Um, excuse me what are you doing Jess.” April crazy laughed, “I mean aren’t we bringing the car over too?” Jessica raised her brows in one of those ‘seriously?’ expressions before throwing April’s bag at her feet.
“No we are not,” she huffed, “We’re taking a boat dumba**. A speed boat, over the water, to the house,” She grumbled pulling the rest of their belongings out of the car.
By the time they arrived at the dock Butch had the boat pulled out and waiting for the girls. When he saw their arrival he sent a tall tan kid to come help them with their things. All right so kid was the wrong expression, but by the way Butch spoke of Matthias it was implied that he was younger than the girls. But he wasn’t. Matthias was a tall, well-built man. His brown hair was cropped just above his glimmering blue eyes. April nudged Jessica and Karen’s ribs in approval. When he saw them his full lips widened in a smile that exposed perfectly straight teeth. He stopped just before Jessica.
“Bessie!” His smile widened, “I feel like it’s been years since I’ve seen you!”
Jessica laughed half-heartedly, “Teetee, I was sixteen the last time we were here. It’s only been two years.” She acted like she wasn’t really interested but the use of her childhood nickname for him reveled that she did care for him to some extent. He stared at her with an intensity that created an awkward silence. After a few moments Karen cleared her throat dramatically. At the noise Matthias glanced at her as a bright, warm smile graced his face.
“Karen,” his grin grew, “ you’ve changed.” Karen blushed at his comment, “it’s very nice to see you again.”
April pushed her way in-between them as if to prove her existence. “Hey there, I’m April.” She smiled pushing her tiny chest out as far as she could. Matthias stared at her with anger in his eyes. Jessica and Karen used April’s distraction to take a few steps away from him.
“I’m sorry Matthias I almost forgot to introduce you,” Jessica giggled nervously, “That is obviously April,” she laughed for real as April trotted back to her side and winked at him. “And April, this is Matthias.”
He looked at April and nodded before picking up the majority of their bags. “We should probably go to my dad’s boat now.” And with that they marched to the boat in another awkward silence.
For the majority of the boat ride Matthias stared at Jessica who shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. She tried to keep conversation going between Karen, April, and herself. Every time Matthias tried to interject Jessica and Karen would ignore him and continue onto another subject. All of the warmth from their first greeting seemed to have evaporated as soon as they boarded the small speedboat. April on the other hand seemed completely oblivious to the strange way Jessica and Karen were acting and kept provoking Matthias to give his insight. Matthias gave April about as much attention as Jessica and Karen gave him. It’s going to be a long week, Jessica thought to herself while looking out at the seemingly endless blue lake.
About a half-hour later they arrived at an aged dock that creaked under their weight. Butch and Matthias helped them off and offered to carry their belongings up to the house and help them settle in, but Jessica declined vehemently. Jessica then thanked them for their trouble and paid Butch a wealthy sum. Soon after that he and Matthias mounted the boat. Butch was sure to leave his personal number in case the girls needed anything. Jessica thanked him again as they rode away.
Jessica’s tense shoulders seemed to visibly relax as soon as Butch and Matthias were no longer in view. Karen looked over at her worriedly. Sensing her gaze Jessica turned and smiled at Karen before looking up the steep walk way that lead to her spectacular home.
“Come along ladies,” Jessica smiled again, this time with true excitement, “the house is this way.” They followed her in wonder as small portions of the enormous red house became visible between the many trees on the large island. As they passed through the final archway of trees the full view of the estate graced their eyes. The large rustic red home lay amongst what must have been hundreds of trees. Several broken birdbaths lined the walkway to the entrance. April touched the side of one of the birdbaths and screeched when a moth flew out. Jessica and Karen laughed at her as they continued their way to the house.
“What’s up with all of the broken bird baths, aren’t rich people supposed to have nice, new things?” she raised two bleached brows. Jessica’s eyes hardened.
“What part of, ‘we haven’t been back here since I was sixteen,’ did you not understand?” Her tone was clipped and it was clear April had hurt her ego. “I hired some house keeper lady to clean the inside of the house yesterday so that it would be nice for us. Keep up the complaining and I’ll make sure there are moths in your bed instead.” She marched to the door like it was nobody’s business.
“Jess calm down, you know April doesn’t ever think before she speaks.” Karen shook her head, “let’s just relax and have fun on our vacation.” Karen smiled. Jessica’s eyes softened as she turned to April, her arms crossed as if waiting for an apology. Which knowing Jessica was exactly what she was doing.
April let out an overdramatic sigh before apologizing to Jessica, “I’m sorry if I made you upset.”
The interior of the house in no way matched the exterior. There were three floors total. There were three large bedrooms on the top floor, each complete with a walk in closet and private bathroom. On the second floor there was a full sized library and study and on the first floor there was a large kitchen that opened to a spacious living room.
Karen smiled as they walked into the kitchen. She remembered the house inside and out as if her and Jessica had just been running around it yesterday. Jessica walked up the refrigerator and opened its large doors.
“I had Maria get us some groceries,” Jessica said rummaging through the restaurant-sized fridge.
“Food,” April shoved Jessica out of the way and started making noises of approval at what she saw. Jessica sat down at the breakfast bar next to Karen and handed her a peach. Karen smiled at her and bit into the juicy fruit. Seconds later April plopped down on top of the granite counter with a gallon of ice cream in her lap
“So what’s the deal with you and Matthias?” April asked as a wicked grin spread over her face. Jessica froze at the mention of his name.
“There is no deal.” Jessica tried to shrug her off.
April pursed her lips, “Did you guys have a thing?” she persisted.
Jessica paused before her answer, “No,” she shook her head as if to convince herself, “No, we never did.” April looked at Karen raising her eyebrows, Karen simply shot April a dark look in an attempt to quiet her. April being, well April, didn’t regard her.
“Jessica no offence, but it didn’t look like nothing. We’re your best friends, come on you know you can trust us.” April begged.
Jessica looked out the large window that revealed a dark, almost malicious looking lake and shivered. She stood up and looked at April and Karen worriedly. “Can we talk about it in the library please?” she asked in a small voice, it was the first time April and Karen had seen a chink in her flawless armor. They stood immediately and followed Jessica, who insisted on locking every door to the outside before arriving at the library.
The intricate white painted door opened to reveal a royal looking room that was covered ceiling to floor with books. The dark red velvet curtains matched the various rugs and old looking chairs that were scattered about the expansive room. The floor under the old rugs seemed to be made out of marble and was nice and cool to the touch. April let out a whistle of approval as Jessica shut the door behind them and locked it. She then proceeded to shut every curtain in the room and lit several antique candelabras.
“Where’s the electricity?” April asked staring at the flame in disgust.
“I think that it’s pretty,” Karen smiled at Jessica and April. Jessica just moved to the old sofa in the middle of the room and waited for them to join her. A fire was burning in the fireplace and she was staring at it intensely. They took their presumed seats in the armchairs next to her. With a shuddering breath she looked up at them and began.
“Butch has always been a friend of my parents. When I was born Matthias was five years old. There weren’t many kids here in the summer, so my parents would often invite Butch and Matthias over. Matthias, Karen, and I were the best of friends instantly,” a fond smile spread across her face as she recalled memories. She was holding onto the ring necklace that she had worn every day since the day of her sixteenth birthday.
“When I was fifteen Matthias gave me his mother’s engagement ring.” Her grasp tightened on the delicate ring around her neck as a slow tender smile lifted the corners of her lips. “He said that I was the most beautiful person he had ever seen and promised me that someday we would be married and as happy as anyone ever dreamed of being. Now, because of the curse of divorce that seems to run through my family I hadn’t really believed in love, but all of that changed when I saw the depths of his adoration that night.” Jessica’s bright, almost happy features turned immediately dark as those words leapt from her lips. April was staring at her with an almost jealous glint in her eyes because in her mind she had called ‘dibs’ on him as soon as she saw him. For a few moments they wasn’t sure if Jessica was going to go on, but sure enough, just as April was about to say something, Jessica took another deep breath signaling the resuming of her story.
“After that night Matthias and I were nearly inseparable. We spent all of the time we possibly could with each other and on my sixteenth birthday that year, he asked me to run away with him. I couldn’t do it. I was so young and he was a 21-year-old man. I mean I had my whole life ahead of me. But truth be told, besides Karen, I was the only other ‘kid’ he had ever been in contact with for an extended period of time because he was home schooled and his parents were very strict about who he could hang around. Because of his overprotective parents he didn’t have the best social skills,” she smiled sadly, “He still is socially awkward.
“But after I refused to go with him, he became furious…” she trailed off staring at Karen. “You remember Karen, right? I mean you showed up as he was heating up.”
Karen nodded her head and continued for Jessica, “When I came upon them Matthias was screaming at Jessica, ‘I love you, why won’t you marry me?’” Karen shook her head in disgust, “he was flailing his arms aimlessly, while trying unsuccessfully to convince Jessica to love him. She didn’t of course,” Karen chuckled sadly, “and that’s when I made my presence known, Jessica was in tears and I knew it wouldn’t be long before Matthias’s bad temper kicked in full throttle. So I called their names nonchalantly, acting as if I hadn’t seen their quarrel, and convinced Matthias that Jessica was needed home. Matthias turned to her and in one last attempt to keep her with him, kissed her.” Karen paused as she took in Jessica’s new pallor. Her face had drained of its usual red blush, and she was shivering. April’s mouth hung agape; no doubt she was thinking how lucky Jessica was. She never seemed to grasp the severity of the situation at hand.
Karen cleared her throat before continuing; “Jessica pushed him away and with a cry ran past me, out of the woods, and into the house. Once alone Matthias confided in me. He told me that he planned on using force to keep her with him. That he was going to steal her away from the rest of the world and that nobody, save him, would see her again,” Karen sighed as she remembered how distraught he had been. “After that he stormed off deeper into the woods. As soon as he was gone I ran to the house and told Jessica and her parents everything.”
“We never came back because we were afraid that he would keep true to his promise. I never imagined that he would still be living here.” Jessica shivered at the thought of him.
April sighed, “Is that why you guys haven’t been here in two years?” Jessica nodded. “Why don’t you talk to him about it now? I mean is it really that-“
“April she is never going to speak to him again. She never loved him. So lay off,” Karen snapped at April whose eyebrows instantly shot up.
“By the way she talked about him, I would think otherwise,” April smiled defiantly at Karen who looked unbelievably p*ssed. Jessica’s breathing was coming rapidly when she stood up and walked to the door of the library, pausing with her hand on the knob.
“Guys can we just forget about it please, can’t we just have fun like we planned.” Jessica looked back at them with beseeching eyes. Jessica never begged for anything, no matter how badly she needed it. Her confidence was unparalleled. “Please,” she spoke the unfamiliar word in a whisper. April and Karen nodded their heads at her and followed her out of the library and into the kitchen, where they made pancakes for dinner and decided on having a bonfire.
The flames reached for the beautiful full moon that hung directly above the three girls in the dark satin sky. The heat radiating from the fire was scorching their faces and hands as they roasted marshmallow after marshmallow, laughing when one caught on fire and covered the marshmallow with a sweet ash. April kept insistently bringing up various guys from their high school that she thought was hot and begged for Jessica and Karen’s opinions. On the occasion she would bring up an unsuspected boy that would either result in a blush from them, or that would result in them giving her an, are you serious, expression that would dissolve in multiple fits of giggles.
After a few hours they made quiet small talk, enjoying the peace that seemed to emanate from the dark sky and forest that surrounded them. Jessica was looking up at the sky thoughtfully as April stared at her a mischievous glint in her eyes.
“Jess, I know you asked us to not bring him back up, but I have to ask you one more question.” April asked serious for once. Jessica shook her head as she came out of her thoughts.
“What April?” Her voice held none of its former resentment; it was as if after reliving her past, Jessica had become a different person.
April took a deep breath before asking the question that she seemed to be dying to get out, “Are you so sure what you said about Matthias is the truth. I mean, I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that he would threaten to hurt you,” she shrugged, “If you even noticed the way he looked at you, it was like someone rediscovering religion,” she paused a small smile on her lips, “or chocolate.” She ended her question on a lighter note. Jessica opened her mouth to respond, but Karen interjected.
“April what the h*ll! I don’t know what you think you saw, but it wasn’t anything so profound! He doesn’t love her anymore and she never loved him!” Karen screamed at April. Jessica had had enough and she stood up and walked over to where Karen was sitting.
“Karen when do you get off speaking for me? I am nearly a grown a** woman I do not need you speaking for me. You have no idea what goes on in my mind,” she poked Karen in the chest on the last word.
“Well excuse me your highness I didn’t mean to step on your perfect little toes!” Karen screamed and ran off into the woods. Jessica and April stared after her in shock.
“What the h*ll’s gotten into her?” April looked at Jessica confused.
Jessica shook her head, “I don’t know, but find out for me will you?” April sighed and rushed into the woods after her angry friend.
Jessica sat back down on one of the cedar chairs trying to make sense of what had just happened. Karen was angry with her because she stuck up for herself? That seemed so unlike her, she never really fought with anyone and she absolutely never raised her voice. Karen was usually the peacekeeper of the group, not the flame that ignited the fight. A high-pitched shriek brought Jessica out of her musings. She immediately stood wondering if April or Karen had fallen in the dark woods and then shuddered at the thought that the cry may have been brought about by more sinister means.
“Jessica?” At the sound of the voice, Jessica’s heart stopped.
Jessica froze hoping, praying that the voice was just inside of her head. She took two deep breaths before turning around to face the direction that the voice had come from. Her breath caught in her throat. Matthias stood before her his features shadowed by the roaring fire. He looked up at her clearly puzzled that she was standing in front of him.
“Jessica?” He asked again. She shook her head terrified. “What are you doing here?” Jessica’s eyes widened at his stupid question.
“I should be asking you the same thing,” her voice quivered. He unconsciously moved closer to her.
“Butch told me that you girls left. I was so upset that you hadn’t even cared enough to say goodbye to me after all of these years.” His features were contorted into a mask of hurt. Jessica shook her head as she softened. She was upset that she had led him to believe that something like that would happen.
“Where would Butch get an idea like that?” Jessica asked trying to understand.
“He said that you called and told him so,” Matthias said confused. Jessica shook her head and stepped closer to him. Matthias looked down at her and gasped when he saw what she wore around her neck. He instinctively reached out and gently touched the ring around her neck. Jessica tried not to recoil from his touch. His head shot up and blue eyes met brown ones.
“You kept it,” he whispered. “I thought you would have thrown it away the second you got away from me.” Jessica let out a breath she felt she had been holding in since she first laid eyes on him.
“I could never do that,” she said softly. Matthias backed away from her shaking his head.
“How could you not? You hate me, Bessie.” His voice was weak and tired, and suddenly he seemed so much older than twenty-three. Jessica’s heart broke when he said that she hated him.
“No Teetee,” she shook her head vehemently. She couldn’t deny her feelings towards him any longer. “Matthias I could never hate you, I -“
“Jessica get away from him!” Karen screamed running from out of the woods clutching at her stomach, blood was all over her. Jessica’s eyes widened and she ran towards her friend.
“Oh my God Karen, what happened to you?” she screamed. Karen was shaking and crying.
“He- he found April and me. April, she’s-he,” Karen let out a body rocking sob. “He murdered her! He thought that she was you and murdered her!” Jessica’s blood ran cold as she turned to face the man that Karen was accusing of murder. His eyes were wide and his mouth was gaping open. Jessica couldn’t help but notice the lack of blood on him.
“No,” she whispered her eyes filling with tears.
“Bessie,” He started.
“Don’t call me that! Don’t you dare ever call me that again,” Jessica shouted at him. “You murdered one of my best friends!” Matthias stepped forward filled with a rage that held no comparison.
“Oh you mean I murdered her, just like I was going to kidnap you?” His voice rose, raw emotion made it rough. “Do you really think that I wouldn’t have taken you right then and there? If I truly had any intentions of stealing you, do you honestly think that little Karen would have gotten in my way?” He was only a foot away from them now his anger was tangible. He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes at Karen, “And who’s the one that told you that lie? Who’s the one that’s covered in blood? Not me.” He said seriously, some of the uncontrollable anger had faded from his face and was replaced with the worried twist of his brows.
“Karen, you didn’t,” Jessica looked at her friend and for the first time noticed the crazed glint in her eyes. Instead of responding right away Karen exploded in distraught laughter. Jessica simply stared at her friend in fright.
After Karen calmed her laughter, a Cheshire cat smile spread across her face, “Oh no, I didn’t kill her. I just made it harder for her to run her mouth,” She said bitterly, “but then again she my bleed out,” evil laughter overtook Karen once again.
“Why Karen?” Jessica asked.
“Why, why, why?” Karen mocked her, “Why did I want to shut her up? Why are you such a b****? Why do you get everything handed to you?” Karen stood straighter and grabbed a receding Jessica by the arm. Matthias appeared instantly between them. Karen frowned. “Why do you get to have him?” Jessica gasped.
“Karen, I never-“ Jessica started.
“Oh poor Jessica, poor rich, fortunate Jessica. Why should you have life so easy when the rest of us have to fight for everything!” she screamed. “Why does a cold, heartless, b**** like you deserve love?” Jessica’s eyes stung at the venomous words her friend spewed.
“Karen, I had no idea,” Jessica cried.
“Shut up Jessica! You do not get to play the victim this time. Just shut up,” Karen’s hands flew up to her ears and she began to rip her hair out.
“Karen please stop this,” at his words Karen froze. Her eyes widened and she appeared to be in a trance. “Karen calm down,” Matthias said raising his hands, while trying to shield Jessica with his body.
“No,” she shook her head spattering April’s blood everywhere. “No, this isn’t how it was supposed to work out!” She screamed, “April wasn’t supposed to be running in after me you were Jessica, you were supposed to die, not her!”
“Karen,” Matthias said firmly, careful to keep his eyes on her.
“Matthias!” she shot back laughing bitterly. “You weren’t supposed to be protecting her,” she shook her head sadly; “you were supposed to be protecting me!” she sobbed. Jessica was shaking and crying now, she still couldn’t grasp the fact that her best friend since grade school wanted her dead.
“Karen what the h*ll makes you think I would have done that?” His face hardened in disgust.
Karen smiled wistfully up at him, “Well Jessica would have gone in after me, and after hearing her scream April would have walked in. I would have cut my arms and legs a few times before slicing April in the face and dropping the knife.” Her eyes were wide and distant; she was clearly caught up in her fantasy world. “April would have been p*ssed and would have run after me with the knife safely in her hands. I would have run out here as you walked up to the fire. I would have screamed, ‘She’s trying to kill me,’ and you would have protected me from her.” Her smile grew as she looked into his eyes, “And after April was arrested for the murder of Jessica and the attempted murder of me, we would have run away. Just you and me Matthias,” tears came to her eyes as she whispered the final details of her wicked plan. She snapped her eyes to Jessica’s, an intensity greater than loathing burning in them, “But that little b**** had to go and ruin everything.” She let out a sob, “Why couldn’t you just die?” She whispered miserably.
“I think you need to go now Karen.” Matthias said solemnly. Karen’s face contorted in agony.
“Matthias, don’t you know that I did all of this for you?” she cried. “What has she done for you? Has she cared for you, fought for you, suffered over you?” she sobbed, “Has she killed for you,” she said quietly. “Loved you,” she whispered looking up into his eyes. Matthias shook his head and took a few steps back from Karen, pulling Jessica with him.
“You are a very sick girl Karen,” Matthias said coldly.
Karen erupted in another fit of maniacal laughter. “Yes Matthias, yes. I am deathly sick. Since I was a young girl a cancer took hold of my heart, but Jessica stole the only cure.” At that moment Karen took two steps back. “You may as well take my life Jessica, you’ve already taken everything else from me,” Karen whispered hopelessly as she dropped to the ground.
Matthias turned to Jessica, “Run to the boat, if I’m not there in five minutes start it and leave.” Jessica looked up at him, as if she wanted to protest, but Matthias pushed her away from him harshly. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed as she ran off to find the boat. He then turned his back to her and cautiously approached Karen. She looked up at him with big sad eyes that now barely contained any sanity.
She laughed once without humor, “So you’re the one that’s going to do it?” she whispered sadly. “Well, I would rather it be you that anyone else.” She smiled up at him.
Matthias let out a long sigh. “Karen, I’m not going to kill you.” He stated. She started crying then. Silent tears fell down her cheeks and muffled hiccups bounced out of her chest.
“I can’t believe she would think that you would ever hurt her,” she smiled through her tears, “I mean you hate me and you can’t even bring yourself to kill me.” She shook her head, “I can’t believe that you would hurt someone you loved.” She looked up at Matthias sadly.
Matthias stared at her quietly. “You know that you’re going to go away for a very long time, right Karen?” he said seriously. She just sighed sadly as a hint of a smile played at the corners of her lips.
“I don’t plan on sticking around long enough for that to happen, Teetee,” Karen whispered sorrowfully. Matthias broke then. He dropped to his knees; it killed him to know that Karen would suffer. Despite all of the things she had done, he couldn’t stay angry with her. Jessica and her were Matthias’s only friends since childhood. The only kids that could stand to be around the home schooled freak.
“Karen,” he whispered. She looked at him with a far off gaze and sobbed suddenly.
“April isn’t even dead, Teetee.” She cried, “She’s in the woods.” Her eyes widened in alarm, “Matthias, April she’s-“ Karen started, but Matthias quieted her.
“But all that blood…” Matthias stared at her in alarm.
She let out a sad short chuckle and lifted her shirt to reveal several severe gashes that followed her torso. “I’m a terrible at being evil.” She inhaled deeply, and then winced at the sudden pain it brought. “I can’t- I- I was never going to hurt anyone.” Karen looked up into his face, “I only wanted you.” For the first time Matthias took notice of Karen’s appearance. Her tank top was thoroughly soaked with dark red blood, her skin matched the complexion of a corpse, and her breathing was coming in shaky, labored breaths.
“No, Karen,” Matthias grabbed her hand.
“Goodbye Teetee, I’ll always love you,” Karen breathed out, closing her eyes. Matthias buried his head into her now cold shoulder. Jessica was beautiful beyond comparison, but her exterior could never match the beauty of Karen’s interior. When they were younger Jessica spent so much time primping herself, bettering herself while all Karen tried to do was help Matthias. Even though Karen never came back to the island either, she still kept in touch by sending letters to him. And what had he done for her? Nothing, he breathed into her dark hair that was now damp and matted with his tears.
“Matthias,” Jessica called from behind him. He didn’t move. He just stayed as he was, crumpled over Karen’s still body. Jessica hadn’t gone to the boat like Matthias had instructed her to and had witnessed the whole scene. When Jessica heard that April was still alive she rushed into the woods only to find a bloody area in the woods. Jessica shook her head, so Karen was lying. She murdered April and then moved the body. Jessica quickly made her way out of the woods in time to see Matthias crumpled over Karen’s body. Jessica fought back a silent thought that now began to pull at her mind, Matthias may have loved you, but he was in love with Karen. The thought repeated itself over and over in Jessica’s head until she couldn’t take it anymore. “Matthias, I’m so sorry,” she said seriously looking down at him. He let out a sob that shook his whole being.
“That’s all you have to say? She was your friend too, don’t you remember!” he screamed hopelessly at her. Jessica shook her head.
“Matthias I am unbelievably sad that Karen is dead-“
“No!” he screamed shaking his head back and forth. “No,” he repeated softly, “she’s not dead we can help her, we can get her to a hospital,” Matthias pushed her hair away from her face gently, “It’ll be ok, it’ll be okay.” He cooed to Karen’s dead body. Jessica knelt down beside Matthias and put her hand on his shoulder.
“Matthias, let’s go home.” Matthias stood up and followed Jessica out of the clearing, as April silently made her way out of the woods, clutching a knife covered in stains similar to those on Karen’s shirt.