The Cross I Bear
"The Rain Scene" Challenge
I own nothing except for the New Moon chocolates my husband bought me.
I find it hard to eat the Jacob one. Really? Did I just say that?
I'm here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away.
It's not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me.
You, you, you oughta know.
"Ahhhhh! Turn it off. Get the hell off me!" I screamed as loudly as I could, but they didn't listen. I really believe they chose not to hear me. The cold water hurt my skin. I didn't want to be here.
"Leave me alone. Go away! I just want to be alone!" I yelled again, but it fell on deaf ears. I felt my shirt being lifted above my head and my pants being ripped from my body. I fought and clawed with all my strength, but the two of them were too much. I sobbed, unable to feel anything. I tried to crawl into myself but there was nowhere to go. I decided to play possum. Maybe they would go away. No such luck.
"God, her shirt smells horrible." I heard a voice say.
"Give it here. I'll throw it away. She hasn't changed since he—well since it happened," the other voice spoke. I even thought I heard a gagging sound.
"Leah, baby, when is the last time you bathed?"
I finally succumbed to the torture and raised my head. I wiped the water from my face and moved a little of the hair that lay flat around my head. It was hard to see them through the water, and I had to squint. My mom and Rachel stared at me with worry in their eyes.
"I don't—I don't know..." I lied. Of course, I knew the last time I showered. It was the night my life changed. The life I knew had ended and a new one began.
An unfamiliar bitterness had built inside me, and I morphed into something I didn't recognize. A sad shell of what once was a strong, confident woman laid here in this bathtub, soaked in water and my own filth. I knew the angry me was here to stay. He—I couldn't even say his name—had done this to me. He ripped out any sense of normality I had left.
I once was Leah Clearwater, his girlfriend. Now I didn't know who I was anymore. Leah, as I knew her, had died.
I stood in the middle of the front yard, staring into the front window of his house. I could see him and her sitting at the table eating dinner. It was dusk; it was right after the sun had left the horizon but still shined enough to cast eerie shadows in the yard around me. The night air was cool, but I felt nothing. The past few weeks I had felt nothing; the pain was too great to even register in my body.
Watching them together made my insides turn over and cause the familiar nausea to resurface. It hadn't been that long, and he's already playing house with her. Damn her and her perfect face and her perfect body. Damn her, my own flesh and blood, for doing this to me and for causing so much torment. Deep down I knew it wasn't her fault; I just needed someone to blame. He couldn't tell me why he left. The only thing I knew was it had something to do with the legends of our tribe, whatever the hell that meant. He said he still loved me, but was meant for her. Whatever he was bound to spoke louder than his heart. He couldn't explain it, and I didn't want to hear anymore of his weak excuses for choosing her over me.
The breeze picked up, and I could smell the rain coming. I wasn't dressed for the weather with my shorts and gray t-shirt. I still had on what Rachel and my mom put on me after my forced shower. After they laid me in bed, my mind wouldn't shut itself off, and I felt drawn to come see him. I needed to witness first hand why he had left me. Standing in the yard, I felt such anguish that I knew if I didn't leave now, I would cause a scene. It would be best if I turned around and headed home, but I wasn't known to be the quiet one and to leave things left unsaid. I had a reputation.
My feet stood firmly in place. Yes, there would be trouble tonight.
I found myself walking up the steps to the front door, not thinking of the consequences or ramifications of my actions. I don't know why I was compelled to be here, but I did. He had been a part of my life since high school and had become my only reason for being. When your source of existence goes away, what is there to live for?
Before I could knock on the door, it swung open with full force, sending a wave of shock to my clouded brain. I couldn't be prepared for who answered it. It was him.
He looked at me like he was angry, but I could see the softness behind that anger when he looked at me. I saw a glimpse of the man that I loved and who once loved me not too long ago. For a split second, I saw Sam.
That moment lasted briefly and vanished as quickly as it came. I looked at a Sam that I don't know.
"Leah, what the hell are you doing here? I told you we can't see each other anymore. You can't just show up like this." His hand never left the door knob, and I watched his eyes dart back and forth between her in the kitchen and me. "I'm going to say this as nicely as I can. Please leave."
I looked down at the steps below my feet, almost ashamed of being here and interrupting his dinner.
"I don't know why I'm here. I had to....I had to see you. I haven't been myself lately." I spoke not knowing how to answer him. "I hate bugging you, S--" I attempted to say his name, the one I had said a million times before. I missed saying his name. It now was like a foreign word that came off my tongue with difficulty. I missed saying it most when he made love to me. I had screamed that name thousands of times in the throws of passion. How could one name bring me from the pinnacle of ecstasy to the very pits of hell?
"Leah, don't do this to yourself," he ordered. Somehow, somewhere along the way he had morphed into a different person. Even before he left me, he had begun to act strangely. He took on an unspoken position beside the elders without so much as a word. He became reclusive and secretive, leaving me in the dark about what he was going through. The biggest change was the way he ordered me and everyone else around. It amazed me at how many succumbed to it and followed without question. He knew I didn't like it, and I told him so. I put up with it, however, because I loved him.
Now I wasn't his anymore, and I didn't have to take his orders anymore.
"Do this to myself? You think I'm doing this to myself?" He tried to speak and interrupt me, but my anger got the best of me and spewed up from my gut. "You have no right to tell me what I need to do! You have no fucking right! At least, not anymore."
I yelled those words and retreated away from the steps, walking as fast as I could away from the house.
The door slammed, and I could hear him behind me. I didn't want him to follow me with the way I felt. I didn't know how much of my anger and sorrow I could control. Maybe it was a mistake coming here.
"How dare you come to my house and act this way. I told you we were over, and you still show up. Do you know how awkward you're making things? This is hard on all of us. Emily and I don't need your crazy interruptions. You need to leave us alone, for God's sake. Leah, you're gonna have to go!" he ordered again.
I had made it to the edge of the house when he finished yelling his last tirade. I had never felt anything like I was feeling. It was more than anger, more than rage. It was the feeling of a being a woman scorned and then shit on over and over again.
I stopped in the side yard after enduring his words. He could stop loving me and move on within weeks, but I couldn't. I turned around to face him, making him take a step backwards. He looked scared of me. The lightning flashed, and I saw his eyes widen a bit upon watching me. I felt a twinge of power at the frightened look he had on his face.
"Don't tell me to get over it. I can't shut it off like you can. I had you for three fucking years, Sam." I spit his name out like the vile taste in my mouth it was. "Don't forget that I was your first for everything. Don't tell me to let go. You can discard me like trash, and I'm sorry if I can't treat you the same way." I paused trying to catch my breath.
Then the rain began at the sound of the rolling thunder. It fell slowly in large drops at first, splashing on the already damp ground. It made pinging noises as it hit the tin roof of the house. The drops fell on me, washing me and bathing me in my brokenness.
"You hurt me in the worst way and now the two of you are already engaged? I had to hear it from my brother. Do you know how that feels? You hardly know her..." Then the uncontrollable sobs began. "You loved me. You told me so everyday...how...how could--"
"Stop it. Just stop it! Do you hear what you're saying? You're just causing more pain for yourself . I've moved on, and you need to as well." He didn't look like he believed his own words. He took a step closer to me but kept his distance. Both of us were alone now; we were away from the road, isolated in the yard together. He took another step.
"I'm not going to stop. I can't stop thinking of us. It wasn't that long ago that we were happy. Just you and me." My words came out between sobs.
"It can't be that way anymore. Things have changed," he said coldly.
"How the hell do I move on? How did you? I don't understand. Help me understand it." I pleaded with him desperately needing an answer.
"I can't tell you. I am bound tightly by things you wouldn't understand. Just know it has to be this way," he answered wiping the rain from his brow. He looked vulnerable standing there shirtless in his cut-off shorts. I watched the rain roll down his chest and rippled stomach. His body had always been beautiful, but looking at him now made me have to squeeze my thighs together to keep them from quivering.
I found my way to him, drawn by the magnetism that always had a pull on me. I was infuriated with him, but somehow I felt my body relenting. This was how it was with us—angry one moment and making love the next. Our fighting always led to sex. Always. It was difficult for old habits to die. I touched his wet chest with a trembling hand.
"Remember the first time we were together?" I asked, stroking his chest.
He looked down at me obviously torn by my touching him. I could tell he wanted to move away, but he didn't.
"Of course I do. I'll never forget it," his voice had softened a bit.
"Remember what you said as you held me and wrapped me in the blanket? Do you?" I needed to know if he remembered.
His silence was deafening and crushed my already non-existent heart. Either he didn't remember and didn't want to tell me, or he did and didn't want to dredge up his old feelings.
"You told me..." I had to gather myself. The sobbing had to stop for this moment. Remembering that night on the beach caused the pain to resurface again. I had to stifle moaning in agony. "You told me you'd love me until you died."
His hand reached to mine. He took my hand and squeezed it. "I do remember that, Leah. I'm sorry."
"You said 'until you died', Sam. Until you died. Well, you're still alive," I screamed and pushed him against the outside wall of the house. His body hit with a force that surprised me. "You're fucking still alive! You're supposed to love me! You lied to me!" I continued to yell as I watched him slowly get himself off the ground.
The rain poured loudly down from the sky, and my sobs could be heard over the thunder. The pain I had endured over the past few weeks had culminated to this confrontation with the man who said he would love me forever.
I felt my knees buckle and found myself falling into the mud. I gripped the sod with my fists, unable to control my grief.
I glanced to Sam who had found his way to his knees in front of me. His face had a tormented look watching me.
"Look at the mess you left. Look at me! It's not fair, Sam. She gets you, and I'm left with nothing but feeling like shit all the time." I took my hands and beat his chest with them, mud smearing all over him in the process.
He grabbed my wrists, and I struggled against him wanting to hit him more.
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you. Please, don't get me angry. Not now. Things have changed, Leah, and you making me mad would be bad for the both of us." He said cryptically.
"I don't give a shit anymore, Sam! You make me mad every moment of every day!" I screamed in my defense.
His grip softened and his arms wrapped around me. I didn't want them to at first, but his arms filled some kind of need in that moment. The part of me that wanted to split apart in pieces was held together by his arms.
"Leah, just know that I'm sorry. I can't give you any more..." he looked down at me and stroked my wet hair with his hand. I whimpered at his touch, realizing I had missed it.
"You can say you're sorry, but you're still an asshole," I whispered, my body shaking under his warmth .
That's when I felt them—his lips. They started on my forehead and trailed themselves down to my temple. His kiss started to dissipate the madness in my head, and all I could think about was wanting more.
Then our lips found each other. We kissed softly, stopping briefly but never losing contact. Then his mouth crashed into mine, finding my tongue and fighting with it. I rose up on my knees and placed my hands on either side of his head and pulled his face close to me, wanting to feel his kisses more. His hands grabbed my ass and squeezed me to him. He felt so good and so right. I needed him to help take this agony away.
I could feel him hardening against my stomach and the want for him pooled between my thighs. Doing this with him would set me back in my healing, but I didn't care. I wanted his touch and needed him to love me. I felt his hands ghosting up my back and down again, and I did the same with mine.
I felt my shirt being lifted over my head, and this time, I didn't mind. The cold rain felt good on my warm skin, and his mouth found its way to one of my breasts. He lifted me to his mouth, growling at his conquest. He nipped and sucked with a fierceness that he never had before.
The moaning from my sobs turned into moans of pleasure. His mouth left my breast and trailed up my neck to my mouth again. As I continued to kiss him, I thought about what this tryst could do to me. I knew I risked any sense of feeling normal again if I followed through with this. I fought internally, willing myself to stop, which went against everything I felt. I pushed his face away from mine.
"Answer me something," I demanded with my chest heaving up and down. I had to push his face up to look in my eyes. He was focused on other parts of my body. "Are you ever leaving her?" I wanted an honest answer. I didn't want to be a sympathy fuck.
He hung his head down and didn't look at me any longer. I knew his answer was no, and he was too chicken to tell me.
"That's what I thought." I pushed out of his embrace and took my soaked shirt from the ground and struggled to put it back on. Finally covering myself, I looked down at Sam who hadn't moved from his spot on the ground.
"I can't do this, Sam. If you're never leaving her, then I can't be with you." Those words hurt more than I ever thought they would. He was all I wanted, and here he was about to give himself to me, at least once more. Deep down I knew things had changed between us forever and no amount of sex would change that fact.
"I'll leave you alone. You won't hear from me again," I said. I watched him wince when I said those words. He was in pain, too.
I turned and ran. I ran as fast as I could away from him and the life we once shared. How would I live the days ahead without him? How could I walk away from him knowing he still wanted me? How could I just let him off so easily? These would be questions I didn't know how to answer and didn't know if I ever would.
As I ran in the rain into the woods, I knew I would always carry this bitterness with me. My pain would be my cross to bear.
Thanks to Zombies Run This Town for being my beta on this one.
If you enjoyed it, let me know.