EBS's 2nd Anniversary Challenge
Emergencybeta dot com
Entry type: Twilight
Name of entry: Empty-handed
Primary prompt: Second chances
Secondary prompt: Explore the senses: base your writing around touch and/or smell
A dingy, grey hallway lined with blue metal holds a memory on every wall. Some corners hold two. It could be said that every inch of this prison is reminiscent of a life I no longer have. In another place in time, an alternate dimension where the past is living out like the present, his hand is still warm in mine. I could find comfort in that…maybe, but I don't. All I have is an ache here, in my hand. It's useless—limp at my side. Pointless, like it's caught in a trap. I'd be better off without it. Gnawing it off would hurt less than what it feels like now and then I'd be rid of it and the pulsating pain its emptiness brings.
Making a fist until my fingernails dig into my palm, I look straight ahead and walk. There's too much distance to my next class. Too many places his path should intersect with mine. It doesn't. I haven't changed my route. He has. It's for the best. If he walked by now, this pit that's taken residence in my chest would plummet straight through the ground in an unsuccessful attempt to escape the void. I don't know what that would mean for the rest of me.
He doesn't believe in second chances. He told me before.
"Promising second chances just gives us permission to mess up. We have no use for second chances. Why are you so sure we'll break up?"
I didn't think we would. I liked that we wouldn't need second chances. I was stupid. Love makes you trust blindly. Love makes you dumb. No second chance means we're just done.
On this stretch of hallway on my first day at this school, walking the opposite way, three boys had already asked me out. Each time, I said, "No thanks," but the fourth one was different—deeper. His questions made me smile. Before we rounded the corner, he grabbed my hand, pulling me back and mumbling something about me being his girlfriend. His hand was clammy with nerves; his eyes were hopeful. I intertwined his fingers with mine. In that moment, I had no idea it'd be so hard to let it go.
Right there, on my second day here, he kissed me for the first time. It was the kind of kiss that lingered for so long that I'd thought I could happily live the rest of my life on just the memory of that one kiss. I was wrong.
Around another corner, the muted sweetness of his cologne is strong—like flower blooms closing at dusk. The time of night I don't want in my nose but in my strained eyes, run dry from crying
I walk by the next hall faster. I won't turn down that one. Tears burn my eyes as I try to hold them in. I can bypass the hall, but I can't avoid the memory of the things we did in the corner of the locker room when we were supposed to be at lunch. It wasn't our first time and it wasn't our last, but it was both our first and last time here. Goosebumps ripple down my arms at the memory of our last time. Rough and needy—if I could go back, I'd take my time. I rub my arms frantically, but the friction only succeeds in heating my skin.
At our locker—we only requested one—my forehead cools against the metal in a moment of reprieve. It's not our locker; he's not using it anymore.
The student body moves around me, but I'm all alone. Friends were our friends; they don't know what to do now.
I don't remember what started the fight, but I know how it ended.
"We clearly don't like anything about each other. Why fucking bother? Just end it. Just fucking end this! I'm done."
I didn't have to end it. He'd said enough for both of us. One pointless argument got out of control, and I lost my boyfriend, my best friend, and I stand here now, empty-handed. I should have never walked out. Had I stuck around, maybe we both would have calmed down.
I open my locker slowly because besides my hand, this is the place that's the emptiest. Two books, I know that's all that's inside. He kept so much in here, but he cleared it out.
A chocolate kiss sits inside, so small, but too big to have fit in the cracks in the door. Only one other person knows the combination. As I caress the coarse foil wrapper, I remain upright, but my soul melts to the floor.
I feel him behind me. With that sixth sense that knows someone's close, someone's watching. As I start to turn around, he takes my hand, instantly filling the void with gentle pressure. It doesn't fix everything.
"Bella, this is stupid." His breath is close; strong enough that I can smell it—spearmint. "Why are we doing this? Why would we choose this?"
I shake my head because I don't know. My vision blurs out everything but his face. The bell rattles my ear drums—a signal that we're already late.
"I'm not… I didn't…" I manage to choke out through the lump of emotion building in my throat.
I can feel the change in the atmosphere with every inch he moves closer. "I never considered us over."
I did consider us over, but I didn't consider moving on.
His rough guitarist fingers squeeze my hand. "Give me a second chance? I swear you'll never have to give me another one. I'll do anything."
I nod before wrapping my arms around his neck, relieving the emptiness in my hand and heart with a heat that spreads all the way through me. I'd give him all the chances, but a second is all that matters now.
Thanks for reading.
EdwardsMate4ever, thanks for betaing for me. You're amazing!
Check out the other entries on Emergency Beta Service's facebook page. Voting is through likes and shares for each entry.