Disclaimer: Victorious, much like a trained monkey butler, does not belong to me. Yet.
Cat's fingers run through my hair, stroking the brunette locks, teasing them out as my head rests in her lap, eyes closed. Afternoon light spills over us, striping my skin in warm lines.
"Why are you scared?" Cat's voice is soft, barely above a whisper, tones lilting, and I open my eyes, staring up at her, fingers twitching on my stomach.
Her gaze is focussed on where her hands comb through my hair, splaying it over her knee. "I'm not scared."
She smiles briefly, chocolate eyes warm, a lock of red velvet hair slipping free from her shoulder. "Your hair is so pretty, Tori."
I pull away from her, half sitting up and turning, Cat's fingers suspended where my hair pulled away, still frozen in mid comb. "Why did you ask me if I was scared?"
Cat tilts her head, hands lowering, pink tip of her tongue running out over her lips. "I didn't." Her shaped eyebrows dip down, arrowed in confusion. "You said that."
"I'm not scared of you, Cat." I say sincerely, a hand raised to her cheek. I frown as I notice it shaking, fingers trembling, and I still it against her skin. "I'm not scared of you." I repeat, voice breaking, a line of panic racing up my spine. "I'm not." It comes out as a desperate whisper, a torn plea, and Cat's looming above me, eyes closed, and I'm shrinking down, down, tears welling in my eyes until they spill over, clothes ballooning around me. And the voice that comes out is a child's voice, stained with tears. "I'm scared of in here." I look up at her, image blurred by hot tears, finger prodding at my chest. "There's something bad in here." Terror prickles my shoulderblades, and I sob loudly, cheeks wet, nose snotty. "I'm scared, Cat, I'm afraid." I open my eyes, hands reaching out, but there's only darkness. She's gone, and I'm left alone with this desperate panic, this susurrant thing that's clambering out of my heart with chill fingers. She left. She left me alone.
I slip to my knees, a short fall, sobs wracking my tiny body, the fear that only a child feels gripping me in it's claw. I cower as a cold voice whispers in my ear, bony fingers lifting a lock of hair away. "What are you scared of?"
I jerk awake, gasping, eyes feeling hot, rolling onto my side and spilling out of bed onto my feet, adrenaline pouring through my veins. I feel my heart start to slow as I wake up more, sweat beading my skin. Just a nightmare. I touch a hand to my chest, where the dream me did, before shaking my head and taking it away. It makes sense I'd have a nightmare. I broke Cat's heart yesterday.
I feel a sharp pang. The dream makes sense now. Cat was gone in it. But she didn't leave, I drove her away. That's the only truth to it The rest was just standard nightmare fuel. I calm myself with the thought, taking deep breaths. It's just because of yesterday, that's all.
I sit back on my bed, closing my eyes for a moment. It's no wonder I'd have nightmares, I can still smell her here. In my sheets, in my bed. On me. I've been bathed in her all night long. I stand again, crossing to my door, hand twisting the cold handle. I'm not sure what time it is. I've beaten my alarm, and from the sounds of things, no one's up yet. It's light enough to see, though. I think for a moment about going back to bed, but the nightmare's still fresh in my head, and the thought holds no comfort. I just need to have a shower, to scrub Cat off my skin.
The hot water sprays my bowed head, running rivulets over my bare skin, warming the chill flesh. I should feel better, shouldn't I? I should feel good that I've ended this thing with Cat. I should feel lighter, freer. I shouldn't still feel this tenseness tugging my shoulders back, this weight bowing my head. Maybe it'll just take time. I did the right thing, I know I did. I think I did.
I sigh, running a wet hand over my face. Maybe I was too harsh. Maybe I should've been gentler with Cat, been sweet. Maybe I could've explained better, why this just wouldn't work with her. I snort, then I would've just ended up the way I always do, hand between her legs, lips pressed to her neck. I'd tried the gentle approach time and time again. I never made it beyond Cat's first silencing kiss. She's a drug, and now I'm going cold turkey. My stomach rumbles at the thought of cold turkey, and I grin at it, warm water pattering over the smooth muscle. I'm feeling better already. It was for the best. I just wish I'd treated Cat better. It would've been pretty hard for her. My grin fades as I remember her tear-soaked face pressed between my shoulderblades, plaintive hand on my spine. She's sensitive, I know that better than anyone.
I step out of the shower, wrapping the white fluffy towel around me, shivering as the cold air caresses my skin. But at least I'm clean now. I make my way back to my room, closing the door behind me. I sit on the edge of my bed, hair dripping over my shoulders, hands gathered in my lap. I should make sure she's okay. I reach out for where my phone rests on my bedside table, unlocking it with a click. Cat's picture smiles out at me as I scroll to her in my contacts, starting a new text message.
Are you okay?
I chew my lip, letting the phone slip back onto the wooden surface of the table. Better get dressed. It's funny how mundane this all seems. When I think back to yesterday, when I think back to last week, all I remember is Cat. Every activity is stained with her. Waking up next to her, arm hooked around her waist, sneaking her into the shower with me, finger held to my grinning lips as she covered herself, little smile on her face. Slipping her towel away from her, fingers playing over her shower warm skin, her lips wet against mine.
I shiver as I slip into a bra, hands reaching behind my back to do it up. She's everywhere in my head. But I've set things right now. This is how it's supposed to be. The time with Cat, the stolen moments... I can't deny they felt good, I can't deny that... that I hold them close to me, deep within my heart. But they weren't right. They were secrets, they were lies. It felt good, it felt so good to be with her, but it was wrong. I know that. If it wasn't wrong, it wouldn't have been a secret, I wouldn't have wanted to hide it.
The message tone of my phone sounds as I shimmy into a pair of jeans, hopping over towards the bed, working the material up my thighs. I pick up the phone, display lit up. It's from Cat.
Two words. They're reassuring. Or... they should be. I guess hearing anything less than a paragraph from Cat in response to any question is worrying. Guilt tugs at me, and I set the phone back down, running a hand through my wet hair. I'll see her today at school, anyway. I'll talk to her, I'll sort everything out. It's what I do. Tori the Problemsolver. I just hope I can solve this. I don't want Cat to hate me. That's never what I wanted, things just got out of hand. If I could just go back, back to before we kissed, before my hands slipped under her shirt, and her fingers worked between my legs. Back to when things were simple, and there wasn't a painful pang every time I thought her name, a recurring realisation that Cat was a secret now.
I skip breakfast, quiet in the car with Trina as she swerves and beeps her horn on the way to school. She glances over at me finally, lips pursed. "Hey, what's wrong with you?"
I look up from where I'm staring at my phone, startled. "Hm? Nothing. I'm fine."
"Are you sure? You're- Hey, get off the road! - kinda quiet. Did you have a fight with Cat?"
"Why would you think that?" I tug my bag closer, using it as a shield.
Trina shrugs, glancing over at me again. "I don't know. She left kind of suddenly yesterday. That's all. Woke me up from my nap." Trina scowls, leaning down to rifle in her bag for lipgloss. I've accepted my fate every time I get in the car with her. Somehow we stay alive, and everyone else does too. It's the entire reason I believe in miracles.
Trina strides off into school after she parks the car, turned almost diagonally across the lines. I pity the people who'll try to park next to her.
I look at my phone again, hand wringing the strap of my tan leather bag, slung over my shoulder. I guess the only thing I can do right now is go to my locker, and hope Cat goes to hers. I hate how this is my life now. How I don't know what to do without her. All I'm thinking of right now is waiting for her. Things haven't changed at all. I thought- I guess I thought it'd be different. That if I just broke it off, everything would go back to normal. That she'd be out of my brain. Maybe it'll change after I talk to her. Maybe I can clear things up, get some real closure. Maybe if I just make sure she's okay, then I can start to get over her.
I realise at some point that I'm just staring blankly into my locker, hand frozen on the door. I jump as a voice booms beside me. "What are you scared of?"
"Wh-what?" I turn to the side, eyes wide, my heart beating wildly, but it's only Andre, eyebrows furrowed worriedly.
"Is there a spider or something in there? You looked kinda freaked out."
I force a shaking smile on my face, still unnerved by the repeated phrase from my dream. "N-no, I'm fine."
Andre narrows his gaze, eyebrows raising. "You sure? You've been acting kinda weird, lately."
I laugh, shutting my locker door and hoping the noise will cover the falseness in my voice. "I'm fine. Just the usual life-flashing-before-my-eyes that happens every time Trina drives me to school."
Andre chuckles, and I feel my shoulders relax, the adrenaline that flooded my heart fading away.
"Have you seen Cat?" I ask, glancing around.
He nods, lifting a hand. "Sure, she's just over there." He winks at me. "Go get her."
I give him an uneasy smile, turning away. Has... has Cat been talking? Does he know? What if everyone knows? What if this is Cat's idea of keeping us together? Maybe that was all she took from our little talk, that I was sick of this being a secret. Maybe she thinks if everyone knows, then we can be together. I swallow hard, that adrenaline surging back into my blood, and I try to stop my hands from shaking, clenching them tight. I don't need any more reminders of that dream. It feels like everyone's looking at me as I approach Cat's turned back, red velvet hair spilled over her shoulders. I remember I used to brush it to the side, and kiss in between her shoulderblades. She'd always make this soft sound when I did that. It made me melt.
"Hey Cat." I raise a hand, sketching an awkward wave as she turns, grin spreading across her face.
"Hey Tori!" She shuts her locker, turning to face me fully, my eyebrows digging down in confusion. Maybe she is fine. She looks like there's nothing wrong at all.
"Um, can we talk?"
Cat giggles, glancing around. "We are!" She spreads her hands in a ta da! motion.
I let a flicker of a smile touch my lips, heart pounding hard in my chest. "I mean... in private. In the janitor's closet."
Cat tilts her head, smile fading, before nodding, and I take her hand almost automatically, that smile springing back onto Cat's face as I do so.
I shut the door behind us, keeping my back pressed against it and taking a deep breath. As hard as the talk with her was yesterday, I get the feeling today's going to be even harder. "Cat, about yesterday..."
Cat's eyebrows furrow down, before a look of understanding spreads across her face. "Oh! Right, I'm sorry I slammed your door, Tori. I think I woke Trina up." She frowns before grinning again, flexing a bicep. "I guess I don't know my own strength!" She giggles, laughter fading as she realises I'm silent. "What's the matter, Tor? You look scared."
"I'm not scared!" I flinch, the words coming out louder than I intended, echoes of that dream still messing with my head. "No, I'm just... are you okay? You seemed pretty upset after our... talk, yesterday."
A look of confusion steeps on Cat's face. "What talk, Tori? We just watched a movie. You said we couldn't hang out on the weekend... is that what you mean?"
Now it's my turn to feel confused, brain churning. Why is she pretending nothing happened? Did I really hurt her that much? Maybe she just wants to pretend that nothing's changed. Maybe she's trying to pretend I never hurt her at all. It doesn't make any sense to me. "No, about... about us."
Cat frowns, looking lost. "Wh-what about us? Tori, you're confusing me."
I lower my voice, glancing around even though I know we're alone. "When I said we were over. When I said this was wrong. Don't you remember? You... you kissed me." I try desperately to read her, to get some flicker in her eyes that she knows what I'm talking about, but all I'm met with is blank confusion.
"I... I kissed you?" Cat's head lowers, lips pouting, brow arrowed in thought, helpless bewilderment on her face. "Tor, I don't remember. Do you mean the night after Jade's party? That was months ago."
My eyes widen, shoulders hunching forward, hands curling into claws, like if I can just speak to her closer, if I can just direct the words straight into her brain, maybe she'll remember. "No, yesterday. Don't... don't you remember?"
Cat shakes her head, gnawing on her lips. "Tori, all we did yesterday was watch a movie, and then I left. We never kissed. Did you have a bad dream?" She peers closer at me. "I dreamt I had a rabbit once. I named him Mr. Snuffles, and I taught him tricks and everything, but when I woke up, he wasn't real. I mean... I thought he was, until everyone told me he wasn't. Maybe you just had a dream?"
I run a hand through my hair, turning away, eyes fixed into space, staring but not seeing. "No, it... it was real. It had to be. I don't- it's not- you really don't remember?" There's a note of desperate pleading in my voice as I turn back to her, mind rebelling against me, ripping through the memories of yesterday, looking for some misinterpretation, some mistake that I've made. But I remember it so clearly. It wasn't a dream.
Cat shakes her head, looking woeful, hand tugging at a ruby lock of hair. "I don't remember, Tor. I'm sorry."
"I- I've gotta go." I manage to choke out, flinging the door open and slipping out, feet feeling uneven as they pound over the linoleum, like I've forgotten how to walk. Cat has to be playing a game, she has to be in denial. But she's not that good of an actress, is she? I stop in front of my locker jerkily, fingers plucking at the lock. What's going on? I don't- this isn't making any sense. I came to school today with a plan, to finally finish this thing. To stop all the sneaking around, all the lies. But now I'm not sure who's lying. Cat seemed so innocently bewildered, like she honestly couldn't remember. I don't think she's lying, but the alternative doesn't make any sense. Maybe it was all a dream? I shiver, remembering my dream from this morning. Maybe this is what I'm scared of.
All of a sudden, the right thing seems a lot less clear. I've got to find out what's going on. I know I talked to Cat yesterday, I know she kissed me. But why is she lying? Why is she pretending she doesn't remember? This is making my brain hurt. I feel like I'm in some mystery movie, caught up in the plot, waiting for someone to come untwist it for me.
"Tori!" I jump, turning to see Jade glaring at me. "I've been calling your name for like ten minutes!" She spits, irritation on her face. "Are you coming to class or not?"
I manage a little nod, letting the lock of my locker go, feet stirring into motion. I just need to think this over. I just need to figure this out. It'll make sense, it has to. I just don't know what's going on. Things seemed so clear this morning. Maybe this is just a bad dream. Maybe I never woke up at all. I chew my lip to the point of bleeding, trailing after Jade. I just need to sit down. I just need... I just need to stop.
A/N: While writing, I realised there was two ways I could take, and, being high on life and various fumes that wafted into my house, I pushed the centipedes away and went with the second option. The one that isn't predictable. The one that's confusing, and head scratching, and at one point foot tapping, for some reason.
So please review, and if you know something to keep centipedes away, especially fictional ones THAT WON'T STOP BUGGING ME. Get it? BUGGING me? HAHAHA.
I'll go now. I'm sorry for that.