I really hate my brain sometimes. Because it can never let a thought drop. So when I had the idea for this fic about an hour or so ago whilst listening to the song 'Never Go Back' by Evanescence, I had to abandon all homework, coursework and university applications and just write it, God damn it. I AM BEING HELD AGAINST MY WILL BY MY IMAGINATION.
But yes. Something similar to this has been done before on this website (see the amazing 'Old Wounds'), but it's been dormant for a while now, and this is a bit different, so I thought I'd go ahead and write it. 'High Tides' is still my priority Ingo-wise, but when that's finished…well I might keep this going while I catch up on other fics. Who knows? I guess it depends whether people are interested in this or not XD If you are interested, do tell me, and I'll try and update more often XD
(Also, WARNING; Mild swearing).
Anyway, enough rambling…here I go!
Cover image was made by myself on polyvore :)
Save yourself, don't look back, tearing us apart until it's all gone,
The only world I've ever known sleeps beneath the waves.
But I'm the one who's drowning; without your love I am lost and I can never go back home…
'Never Go Back' ~ Evanescence
The stale night air rushes into my lungs as I sit up, gasping and shaking, sweat pouring off me so that my hair sticks to my face. I take deep, whooping breaths, trying to calm down, and gradually the trembling decreases. I brush my hair out of my eyes and stand up on legs which are only slightly wobbly, my shorts and t-shirt sticking to me like clingy fronds of seaweed. I push away that thought almost instantly; it reminds me of the dream, and that's the last thing I want to think about right now. I walk to the window and push it open, and sigh in relief as a cool breeze washes over me, freeing short tendrils of hair from the back of my neck. The familiar sound of traffic, hooting horns and the thrum of engines mingled with the hustle and bustle of the streets below calms me, blocking out the threatening hissing voices that called to me in my sleep. After a moment, I turn and pad softly out of the room and into the bathroom. I rinse my face with cool, sweet water, washing away the sticky taint of salt and fear, before walking into the kitchen and beginning to make myself a cup of tea, hoping to calm myself to the extent that I will be able to return to bed tonight.
"Couldn't sleep either?"
I jump, before I recognise the silky drawl. "Nah. Just a stupid dream," I mutter as I dunk the teabag in the mug and swirl it around.
"That sucks. Make us a cuppa?"
I roll my eyes, but grab a mug for Jean and begin to pour boiling water into it.
"Thanks doll," she says, and this time I catch a whiff of smoke.
"Jean! Lean out the bloody window, for heaven's sake!"
"It's just one little ciggie…"
"I don't care. We had a deal. Asthma, remember?"
She grumbles for a moment, but obliges, hanging back out the window.
I finish the tea and carry a mug over, setting it down on the coffee table.
"Thanks, Saph, you're a darling."
"Whatever." I sip the tea moodily. Jean finishes her cigarette and sits down opposite me.
"So, what was the dream about?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Oh come on! I thought it was just a silly little dream?"
"It was personal," I say, staring into the deep brown depths of the tea.
"Oooooh! Was it about a boy?" She winks. "Was it about Ed? Or about someone else? Don't worry, I won't tell him if it was!"
"Oh just shut up Jean!" I snap, glaring at her over the rim of the mug. "It's personal! I told you!"
"So it was about a boy!" she screeches triumphantly, like a strangely sleek and groomed blonde harpy. "I knew it!"
"It wasn't! Can't you just drop it?"
"Fine, fine!" She rolls her eyes and begins to drink her tea.
We sit there in moody silence, the only noise the ticking of the clock, the hum of the refrigerator, the roar of the cars outside the window. London is always busy at night. Always on the move.
"I'm going back to bed," I say eventually, standing up and dumping my mug next to the sink. "Night."
She mumbles something back. Great. Now she's sulking with me. I hope it won't escalate to the point it did last time, when I yelled at her for drying her tights in the bathroom. Jean, to be honest, isn't my ideal flatmate. She's nice enough, when she's not stomping around the flat in a strop, or shrieking at her friends on the phone for two hours a day, or hogging the bathroom to take a long bath with candles and scented oils when I want to brush my teeth. We only really ended up sharing because my original flatmate, Lucie was suddenly offered a killer job up in Manchester, and I needed someone else to share with me, as I couldn't afford the rent alone. And so Jean, one of Lucie's friends, moved in. She reminds me a bit of a cat. She's got the graceful movements, the feline charm. Her grey eyes are sharp, never missing a detail, there is never a hair out of place in her sleek, glossy bob. Her skin is peach, her lipstick always blazing scarlet, her suits immaculately tailored to her curvaceous body. She qualifies as a solicitor next year.
I slouch into my bedroom and shut the door behind me, looking the polar opposite of the glamorous woman in the silk negligee sitting in the other room. My short hair is scruffy and sticking up everywhere from all my tossing and turning. The tan I used to have from running around the sunshine all day has faded, the result of living in a city and working nine 'til five in an office. My baggy t-shirt is crumpled and worn, my eyes are ringed with dark circles. I flop back into my bed, which is still warm, and pull the duvet over my, snuggling back into the pillow. I wish Sadie was here. She always helped to scare away the nightmares before. A gut-wrenching pang of loss goes through me when I think about my beautiful, faithful girl. I still miss her so much, even though she died almost two years ago. I was with her when they put her down; something went wrong with her brain and they couldn't save her. I refused to cry until after she was gone. She always hated to see me upset. I stayed there and stroked her gently until her eyes closed and she was finally slipped away, which was the point when I burst into tears and cried until I made myself sick. I hadn't cried like that in years. Well. Not since I was seventeen and…No. I'm not going to think about that.
Ed was in the waiting room when I came out, and I cried on his shoulder all the way home. He hugged me tightly and stroked my hair, and I knew that he understood; his dog Angus had died when he was fifteen. We were still in University at the time, so he took me back to his flat and made me a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows and produced a big box of man-size tissues. A couple of days later, I found a small bag with a present hanging from the doorknob of my room. Inside was a photo frame decorated with paw prints holding a photo Ed had taken of Sadie and I together during a walk in the woods. I think that was the day that I realised I truly loved him. I roll over and look at the photo on my bedside table and smile, softly. One day, I want to get another dog. Not yet. It's too soon. But Ed wants to get one too, so maybe one day…
I glance down at my left hand and smile at the forth finger softly. The shimmering ruby winks back at me. My smile widens and I close my eyes once more, drifting off into a peaceful sleep free from dreams of dark, cloying waters wrapping around my limbs and dragging me down, down into the unwelcoming depths where I drown from loss and sorrow.
The tube is packed, and I have to stand, back pressed against the doors, and sway along with the multitude of other people crammed into the metal cylinder like sardines in a can.
"West Kensington," the ever so articulate announcer says as the tube begins to slide to a halt. Great. Only two more stops...
"This is the District Line to Ealing Broadway. Calling at…"
I sigh to myself and check my watch. I'm on time, thankfully. More people squash into the carriage, and away it goes again. I cling onto one of the rubber wrist straps to prevent myself from flying down the interior and skidding along the floor, like I did on my first day of work. I turned up with a ladder in my tights, my hair a mess and a rip in my new jacket. Not something that I intend to do again. The tube thrums with speed around me, and it occurs to me that it's a bit like being inside a large metal torpedo, shooting through the water towards some unknown target. This torpedo, however, finally comes to a halt at Hammersmith, where I thankfully squirm through the crowd of people to the opposite doors and make my way towards the escalators, brushing down my neat brown skirt and smoothing my short hair. My boss can be very picky about appearances, which is why my first day was a little bit awkward. She still scrutinises me extra carefully every day to make sure than I am presentable. I briskly trot down the street, towards Hollins & Carpers, the publishing firm where I work, checking my watch. The walk is only five minutes long and soon I'm walking through the revolving doors of the publishing house. I beep my identification tag and pass through the turnstile before going up to floor five in the lift. I'm finally in the office and all in the nick of time. I sink down into my seat opposite Mark, another editorial assistant, and log onto the computer, beginning to click through my emails.
"How're you doing?" he asks, tapping away at his own keyboard.
"Meh, not bad. You?"
"Can't complain, can't complain. I'm knocking up design briefs and cover jackets for that latest teen romance book." He rolls his eyes and I laugh.
"What're you putting on it?"
"Well, it's another one about vampires, so all the standard stuff about eternal love and love sucking and stuff."
"I'm pretty sure that 'Love Sucks' is already a tagline."
"Oh, I know it is; I love that show, and the books. I'm doing a bit of paraphrasing. Just as long as I get some romantic-vampy puns in there."
I smile, flicking through my emails.
I open one from 'Ed Windsor' and smile to myself.
Have a good day at work! :D 3
My smile widens and I quickly tap out a reply.
I will do now :)
I press 'send', before returning to the inbox. "Oh God no!"
"What? What is it?" Mark frowns at me.
"They want my help in choosing a cover for one of those new 'erotic' novels! You know, the smutty ones! I'm supposed to help them pick one out!"
"Oh God no!" he echoes my earlier statement. "You poor thing!"
"Why? Why is this happening to me?" I moan.
"Just…just go for something with a nice and elegant cover, but with a dark background so that it looks sensual?" he suggests. "You know…something classy…like a tie, or a ribbon or something?"
I scan the description of the book and pull a face as I flick through the ideas that I've been sent. "I suppose that'll work…thanks Mark…"
"You're welcome. You now owe me a drink." He grins as I roll my eyes. "Come on. A group of us are going to the pub tonight, it'll be fun."
"Mark, I'm not sure…"
"Nu-uh. You have to come now. I told you, you have to buy me my drink."
I raise an eyebrow. "I'm not good with large gatherings…"
"There are only about ten of us! And Justin's coming! I've mentioned you to him, and he wants to meet you. Come on, Sapphy. Please?"
"Wait, so now I have to buy you a drink and meet your boyfriend?"
"Fine." I pull a face. "Fine, I'll come. But my, you ask a lot of me…" I raise a hand dramatically to my forehead.
"Oi, Justin is a lovely guy! It should be a pleasure to meet him, not a trial!" Mark throws a pencil at my head and I duck.
"What's going on in here?"
Mark and I both whip around guiltily.
"Nothing," we say in unison like naughty school children.
Vanessa, our commissioning editor, raises her eyebrows, scanning my outfit as she does so. Thankfully she doesn't seem to find fault with the scarlet blouse and the bistre suit, as she just sniffs. "We don't pay you to mess around. Get back to work."
We nod mutely, before turning back to our computer screens.
It's quarter to five when the email arrives in my inbox, and we're just thinking about packing up for the night.
I've picked out a couple of the rough designs for the sultry book cover, as well as approving a couple of finished ideas for a poetry anthology and circulated a promotional poster for the hundredth anniversary of a famous classic.
The soft 'bing' which alerts me is barely audible over the noise of people preparing to leave, but I hear it nevertheless, and lazily swing the mouse to the minimised email tab, clicking on the inbox. I blink. It's from Conor.
I double click on the message and open it, scanning the words on the screen with growing fretfulness. After a moment, I stand up straight, reaching for my mobile. "I can't come tonight, sorry Mark."
"But Sapphy! You said you would!"
"I really sorry, but it's an emergency." I pull on my coat, worry and anxiety bubbling in my stomach like acid reacting to a Group 1 metal.
"What? What's wrong?"
"It's my mum. She's been in an accident."
Review would be very much appreciated; are you interested in this story? Would you like me to continue it? Or are you just like "Meh." or "No. Just...stop." or "What the hell even is this? Why did I waste my life reading this? God, what's wrong with you? You think I want to hear more of this?"
Ahem. Oh self-confidence, where do you go? XD
Anyway, thank you for reading :D
Oh yeah, and don't ask me where the Chemistry simile came from XD I guess I just like Science XD