Gently she laid the picture into the box and sat back against the headboard. It creaked loudly due to its age and then settled with her weight. She could feel the tears slide down her skin, and she could feel herself tremble. She was cold, she had no heater and the Winter outside bit hard into her skin. She tightened her blanket around herself but of course it didn't work. She had had the blanket for years and now it did little to keep her warm.
She felt alone again. The morning had risen on the memory of being in Jared's arms and had made it disappear as if none of it had happened. She was kicking herself for not letting him in, for not allowing him to walk into the life she had isolated herself in. She always felt so terribly alone, nothing at all able to calm the aching that it left and yet now when there was somebody there she could nothing but shut them out. She yearned for him even now. Longed to be in his arms again, needing the protection he perhaps didn't know she felt with him. She would have done anything he wanted and yet her fear had broken that altogether. Her fear had abandoned her to nothingness once more.
What would he have thought though? Had she let him in, allowed him to lay her back on the old used up bed, taken her dress off to reveal a scarred body? What desire would he have felt then? It would have all disappeared, nothing at all to keep it there. He would have been scared of her, no longer interested, and he would perhaps even feign compassion on her wounded soul. She couldn't have that. That would only destroy the dream of love she had tried so desperately to hold onto.
With a sigh she gently rolled up the sleeve of her sweater, a small wince escaping her lips. There they were. Old faded scars replaced by fresh cuts, deep, artificial, it didn't matter. These were the lines that read out the story of her life. That told the details of her failing heart, the tragedy of her whole existence.
She reached into the box and carefully pulled out the small blade she kept there. She looked at it, the light glinting off its sharp edge. Her tears still fell as she pressed the cold metal to her arm. She pressed and pulled, the blood releasing itself instantly. She let the blade lay on the bed next to her and watch it run down her arm. More of her tears fell and slowly made way into a soft whimpered cry. It never fixed anything, it only added to the tumultuous wounds that encased her. But it helped her release some of the pain vent up inside. With each drop of blood, each cut it let out her sorrow.
She made to lay down but then her phone went off. She looked at the clock, read that it was still quite early in the morning and with confusion she lifted the phone. Wiping at her tears she saw it was Shannon.
"Rowan? It's Shannon..."
"I know. What's up?" She prayed that her crying didn't sound too obvious to him.
"Could you make it down here? I'm at Jared's." Something about his tone sounded distant, unsure, worried.
"What's wrong?" She sat up quickly, her heart picking up at the sound of Shannon's voice.
"Well I didn't know who else to call. He doesn't want to see anyone. He's locked himself in his room and he won't come out no matter how much I ask him to."
Rowan couldn't help the knot that formed in her stomach. She looked down at the blood on her arm and the darkest of thoughts passed through her mind. What if he....but she couldn't think that he would do that. She didn't know for sure. "I'll be there." She said. She hung up the phone after a quick bye and got off the bed.
She rushed into the bathroom, cleaned up the drying blood, placed a bandage over it and then pulled on her coat. She checked her appearance in the mirror and with a burdened sigh she left the house.
It took a while but eventually she found herself outside of his house. She looked up at the exterior, immediately seeing the undeniable difference from her own place. What different worlds they lived in. Outwardly at least. She hurried up the stairs and quickly knocked on the door.
Shannon opened it. He was a bit a mess, his eyes were tired and his expression was dampened. "Thanks for coming." He said opening the door to let her in.
She nodded and looked about the empty place unsure exactly why she was there. The last time she was here had been a short while ago and yet it felt like years. "What happened?" She asked.
"I don't know. He got upset about something. He does this sometimes but usually I'll be able to get him out. I don't know what happened." He wiped at his face with worried frustration and shook his head, beat by the uncertainty of it.
She went to him, lightly touching his arm and smiled a little. "Why don't you go get some rest. I'll call if anything happens." She hoped that what she had said didn't sound too dreary but she got a nod in return.
He left with hesitance and another assurance that she would call. Finally she was by herself, unsure what she could possibly do that his brother couldn't. She hardly knew him, wasn't even sure why Shannon had thought to call her. Whatever the case was though she was going to try like she said she would.
She made her way to his bedroom and lightly knocked on the closed door. "Jared?" She softly called out, not wanting to startle him or anything. "Jared, it's Rowan. Shannon called me. Are you alright?" She didn't get any answer and her heart dropped. She couldn't do anything. Why would he open the door for her? "Jared?" She called out again, her voice a mere breath of unsurety. After a few more attempts she sighed with exasperation and sat down with her back against the wall. She rested her head back and let her eyes slide shut. The cut on her arm was still causing her some pain and her inability to get him to open the door was worrying her. She refused though to think that he would do something to himself. The thought made her sick.
A moment passed and then another and another. She sat there, staring at the unmoving door and told herself that she had perhaps given up too early or she had never had a chance. Slowly she stood up, adjusting her skirt and fixing her coat. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and thought to call Shannon, tell him that she was sorry she wasn't of much help.
The doors knob twisted though and the door slowly opened. She let out a breath that she had been holding and watched as he came into view in front of her. His hair although pulled back was disheveled and his clothes were a wrinkled mess. She could tell he had been crying from the red rim around his eyes and how glassy the blue of them were.
"Jared." She breathed out his name and without thinking rushed over to him. She wrapped her arms around his thin frame and held him to her. She breathed in his scent, clung onto the warmth of his body and smiled a little to herself with relief. She looked up at him, meeting his tired blue eyes. "Are you alright?" She asked, boldly lifting her hand and brushing back some of his hair that had fallen in his eyes.
He held her gaze for a moment before his arms finally rested around her and he nodded. "I'm sorry." He whispered as a single tear made its way down his cheek.
She shook her head though and brought him closer to her, wanting nothing more than to take away the pain she saw there in his eyes.