"Bails? Honey, are you okay? Do you need some help?" "I'm fine." I called back. My knees had given out at this point and I was sitting on the ground staring at my denim skirt. The last thing I w...
I can't express how bad I feel guys, I'm really sorry. However, if you stuck with me I'm amazed and astounded at ur deleriously awesome sense of loyalty and I love you! Roses for everyone!
Chapter Ten: The Rough in The Diamond
Never had I appreciated the palm trees in the Las Vegas airport more than I did when I landed back home. So relieved was I that I nearly missed out on lamenting the absence of my favorite tenants. Of course, I say nearly. Meaning almost, but not quite. Meaning when I got home I was so bored that I felt like a piece of plywood. Just sitting...no life in me at all.
I mean, I played some video games. I called around a little, let my friends know I was back. But I couldn't call the boys, and even if I could, I didn't want to. Phone calls are like an after school snack. They're an invention of modern society meant to tide you over until dinner. One cannot survive off of only talking to the love of their life any more than they can survive off of Jell-O. Which is a bad example, because I really like Jell-O, but I think you get my point.
Finally, it got to the point where I decided to check the messages my mom had left on my cell phone. The ones I had ignored and meant to delete but was now so desperate for stimulation of any kind that I was willing to listen to my mother's nagging. God help me.
"Honey, we miss you already! I hope your flight is going well...listen, you're boyfriend called. Umm, I told him you'd already left and that you were probably busy in airport security. I mean, can you imagine if you cell phone went off in the middle of airport security? I'm sure it wouldn't be good. And it's not like you two can talk while you're in the plane. So, anyways, I love you. Oh, I think you left one of your bras here, it's orange, kind of lacey. It's not very sophisticated. I'll ask you sister. Alright, well, I better let you go. Oh, honey, don't forget my pictures! You know, the ones I wanted of Fremont street? Okay, I love you. Bye!"
It amazed me how my mother had never gotten her own talk show. She never stopped talking. It was like some Satan given talent or something.
However, she got kudos for giving me an idea of something to do. Getting up from my place on the couch I went into the guest bedroom and rooted around for Ryan's spare camera. He liked to take pictures and had three very beautiful cameras, two of which he always took with him when on the road (one for carry on luggage and another for regular) and the other he kept here.
I wasn't much of a photographer. I saw images that I thought would make cool pictures, but I never bothered to take them, keeping them instead as secrets burned into my retina for my own personal inspiration. But that night I was going on a conquest of artistry.
Sure, I'd get my mother's boring, clean cut pictures. The ones everyone else had of Las Vegas. The ones people framed and kept displayed on their mantel for guests to ogle at and say "Wow, you've been to Vegas? How did you like it?". I felt sorry for people like my mother who just couldn't expand their minds wide enough to fit the concept of abstract beauty and emotionally provoking art into their skulls.
But whatever, my mom would get her pictures. I was going to get my own.
I was going after pictures of hookers. Their overdramatic make-up and hair back-dropped by the blazing neon of Fremont Street. It seemed a little crazy, and I had to wonder how fruitless this was going to prove. But still and all the same, I needed some thrill in my life, no matter how cheap.
They were wearing so much lipstick they should have also had on signs that read 'Wet Paint'. Tiny skirts that looked like they were fabricated from plastic and ready to rip with every stiletto-heeled strut. The fishnets were what got me. Every corning was drowning in fishnets. But they were working. Men stopped them like police officers ticketing at NASCAR.
These girls could almost pass for models. Tall, leggy, apathetic looking faces that probably stayed that way even when they were getting fucked. Their hair was frizzy, no matter how hard they tried to hide it, none of them had healthy hair. It was just everywhere from all the treatment, all the teasing and heating. I figured it was good that their hair never had to see the Las Vegas sun. Their lips were puffy and swollen, seeming to emphasize the faint, poignant smell of cig smoke that followed me everywhere they went. It was so symbolic of the poison in their systems. The tar in their lungs was like the dirt being kicked on their souls.
I wondered if the reason none of them stopped me was because they didn't see me, or because they just didn't care. They didn't seem to care about anything anymore except survival. Taking abuse just to take a little green from the wallets of wealthy scumbags who were probably married. Assholes.
Not that I was defending them. These women had made their beds and were sleeping in them. Er, no pun /intended/, but by all means, take a moment to appreciate the value of that phrase in context.
Still, there was some kind of depraved beauty to these girls. At some point or another, I stopped looking at them through my camera lens and stood back to take them in as people. I wondered what their stories were. What their initial hopes and dreams had been when coming to Vegas, because surely, contracting an STD could not have been on the priority list.
Or being that thin. Because man these girls were thin. A delicate kind of skinny that made them petite, fragile, vulnerable. Almost dead looking.
Swallowing, I began to wonder about myself for the first time. Why did I think something that unhealthy was desirable? Why did I wish I looked like them? Had their dripping ribs and protruding hips?
I didn't want to think about the why anymore. But I knew, starting the next day I was going to have to get my ass in gear again. No, it wasn't going to be fun. But I knew the only way to get rid of this need nagging at the pit of my stomach, eating away at my thoughts all day long, was to follow my sister's advice and work myself harder.
The next morning, I had spoonful of peanut butter for energy (feeling guilty about it for at least an hour), grabbed a bottle of water and stepped out of the house for a five-mile run in the heat of Las Vegas under summer.
There was nothing but heat and pavement all around me. My water ran out fast and as much as I hated to litter, I threw the empty bottle on the ground from lack of strength. The light plastic alone seemed weigh me down by pounds. My whole body was heavy, achy. I could feel the uncomfortable beginnings of a sun burn forming on my skin. That run was pure torture. I hated every second of it, but forced myself through it.
'I can do this,' /I told myself, 'I know I can do this if I just give it my all.'/
The result of that theory was one I forgot to calculate. That if I gave this my absolute all, there would be nothing left.
After the first four miles I started seeing things. Shadows flying around out of the corners of my eyes. I could feel how dry my entire being was. How hoarse and swollen my throat had been reduced to from breathing so heavily for so long.
By the time I reached the house again I was close to tears and absolutely desperate. I ran inside, my eyes burning from the sudden lack of sunlight that had ripped into my retinas. Blindly, I stumbled around towards the bathroom as my reflexes kicked in and I started dry gagging.
My vision was wearing more black spots than a scene girl with a polka dot fetish. My whole head felt heavy, as though it was an anchor trying to pull the rest of my body to the floor. My limbs weren't exactly helping that situation, though. They felt so weak, as though I were being tickled on every part of my body. As though the muscles had lost their grip on my bones and were no longer under the control of my motor strip. I felt feverish, delusional. All I could think about was getting to the bathroom, throwing up and then passing out on the cold tile there-in.
Somehow I avoided passing out and hitting my head on something before reaching the toilet. Everything else around me blurred except for the white porcelain ring and the clear water within. Suddenly my stomach was turning itself inside-out, heaving upwards all on its own. There wasn't any pain, just a serious struggle on my part not to fall over from fatigue and then choke in my own vomit. Lovely mental picture reality paints us with, I know.
The force behind my stomach's upheavals tapered off, eventually subsiding and leaving me gasping for air. Suddenly my senses came back to me, much sharper than before. I could feel the sweat on my skin, the heat radiating off it, the way my hair had started coming out of its pony tail and was frizzy as all hell from moisture and the intense Nevada desert sun.
I needed water. Cold. In my mouth, on my skin, through my hair, flushing out my eyes (which had begun to water when the vomiting started and were still burning profusely), water hydrating every pore of my being.
After sitting on the tile floor for a few moments, leaning against the bath tub for support, I finally stood. My legs were quaky, knees unstable while my hands were shaky as well.
My muscles were shot, I could feel that much. And the sunburn I'd just earned myself would be making any skin contact difficult that evening.
'All the more reason to hop in the shower as soon as possible.' I reassured myself.
The water hit my skin with sudden abrasion and I gasped loudly. My throat, feeling abused already from all the heavy breathing I had forced it through, was not happy about that. A very obvious wince scrunched up my features as I turned to let the cold water claw at my bare back. A small whimper left my mouth. As good as it felt to have the burn of my skin combated, and as necessary as it was, the feeling was almost torturous.
I thought back on what I had just done to myself. The limits I had pushed.
When I had first reached the drive way, I had felt relief. I had been proud of myself, of my endurance. But now, anxiety was tightening my nerves. I was scared. Not for my body so much as my mental state. I couldn't slip back into the black whole my family had let me fall into.
But the scary part, and the reason that my tears were making a comeback, was that I already had.
As soon as I got out of the bathroom, the phone rang.
"Hello?" I answered. My hair was still cold and dripping wet while I stood clad in a towel.
"Bails? It's Maitland. I thought you were coming over."
/'Fuck!' /In my rampant desire to do everything within my power to lose weight, I'd dropped the plans I'd made to visit Maitland off the face of the earth.
"Yah, sorry, I was up kinda late last night. I just got out of the shower actually, I'll be right out, er, over. I'll be right over." So, if anyone can answer me how I was supposed to get dressed and out the door when I was so exhausted I couldn't even think or talk straight, I'd be elated to meet them.
Somehow I did it, the alluring comfort of bed and nap time calling to me desperately the entire time. I needed sleep. Desperately.
Alas, I forced myself to make like a shy gay person and head towards the closet.
'Perk up.' /I told myself, 'I'm going to see my friend. I should be happy. Besides, I've missed her.'/
Nodding to myself for further reassurance, I began looking through my closet. It was so hot out (what was new) I was gravitating heavily (Great, now I sounded like Jupiter...) towards a denim skirt that I'd attacked with a cheese grater after purchase. Before you even say it: No, I wasn't drunk that night. Well, maybe a little tipsy...but that had nothing to do with it. Anyway, the effect produced was that my pockets all had frayed edges. I'd taken off the back pockets all together and grated those edges too so now, all the remained on my butt was the frayed outline of very rough U's. A little hot pink/purple/teal stitching here and there, some random bleach stains and I had myself a first class denim mini. And it had been on sale for just $3.99. Chya.
As much as I loved my skirt however, I was beginning to have second thoughts as I discarded my towel and looked for some underwear. Did I really want to expose my legs like that?
Then again, I'd had been working pretty hard. I'd been giving this thing my all. I should have some fun, right? Besides, Maitland had loved me before I had started working out, she'd still love me now. I nodded again to myself, smiling. Double layering a pink tank over a teal one, I grabbed my purse and left for Maitland's. I kind of wanted to go it a-foot, but I'd definitely had enough of the sun for one day. As soon as I stepped outside I was sucker-punched with a headache from the heat and the blinding light glaring at me off of rooftops and pavement.
"Ew..." I grimaced and headed towards my car. Fishing around in my purse, I caught the dark purse dweller I was looking for. "Aha, found you Mr. Sunglasses." I put them on and made a fish face in my rearview mirror. A soft laugh left my lips and I put my car into reverse. For the first time in a long time I was feeling honestly, genuinely happy all on my own. It had to be the clothes I was wearing. That I was allowing myself to wear them, that I felt free again. Free and at home all at once in my own human skin.
I smiled the whole way to Maitland's.
"Well, Nadia actually broke up with /Dan/."
"What?!" I exclaimed. Gossip was something I thought to be a horrible practice. It was evil and the spawn of most of life's misunderstandings and animosity. Gossip was one of the reasons I didn't buy into religion or my mother's social realm. It was the reason there were children who were alienated, never talked to but always talked about. And if you think those kids can't hear your whispering and giggling, News Flash: They sure can.
Gossip, however, was also the female condition. And by-God Maitland and I were very, very guilty of being female.
"Yah, my first reaction was that he must have broken up with her too, I mean she seemed really torn up about it. But no, she dumped /him/."
"Oh my /gosh/." I sat in her stuffy armchair stunned at the turn of events that had taken place while I was MIA in Martha's Vineyard.
"Tell me about it. So now, everyone's on Dan's side and hardly anyone will talk to Nadia."
"Does Brendon know?" Like I said before, Brendon and Nadia had always been really close, even through her Bulimia scare. She was a cool girl, not really my type of friend (she was a shorter version of Audrey with hot pink highlights if that explains anything at all), but still a really cool chick. No matter how distant we were, she was a part of the gang and I worried about her.
"Probably, you know how he's attached at the hip to his Sidekick."
I nodded, she had a point.
"The problem is, he probably only knows Dan's side of the story since everyone is on Dan's side."
"Well, who's side should they be on?" I was still a little confused about what was going on, but I had faith it would be explained to me soon. That was the pull of gossip, it was like a mystery novel starring all your best friends.
"I don't think we should be taking sides, they're both our friends. It's just...Dan was a real asshole at times. Nadia refuses to badmouth him as a boyfriend but I remember having to be there for her on more than one teary-eyed occasion. The reason everyone's taking Dan's side is because he isn't hesitating to badmouth Nadia. It's like press spinning. The politics of it make me sick. Anyway, relationship aside, I really respect Nadia's integrity and for that she has some points in my book because obviously Dan really can be an asshole."
"Obviously." I replied. I didn't know Dan that well. He'd been over to the house a few times and he was fun and all, but I honestly didn't know anything about his sense of right and wrong or what he was like as a boyfriend. "I really have to wonder what Brendon thinks of all this, I hope he calls me tonight."
"When was the last time you talked to him?" she looked interested. Typically, Brendon and I talked every night on the phone, but he'd warned me he was going to be uber busy for a few days and true to that I hadn't talked to him in some time.
"Eh," I made a face as a I tried to dig my way through the dusty pit of my memory. "Like three days ago? I think? Yah, something like that. Anways, those are two of his best friends, I can't imagine having to choose between two of my best friends. I just wish people would get along." I sighed.
"Yah, well. I hate to burst your bubble but Davey and myself are having a falling out of sorts."
"WHAT?!" This was three times the shock I'd felt after the /first /piece of news. "How is that even /possible/?" This was like a bad file that was /not /computing on the Bailey hard drive.
"She's started helping out the news team at school." Maitland gave up a defeated sigh and seemed to sink lower into her swivel chair. She hardly ever moved out of the chair, such was the life of my workaholic best girlfriend. Unless you counted Ryan as a best girlfriend...which was entirely plausible at times...but anyways.
My eyes got dark and I gave Maitland a serious look.
"Are you serious/?" I couldn't believe this. She was betraying us. For the popular chain of trust fund brats at school. The trust fund brats I'd betrayed for my /real friends, thank you very much. "Why?"
I wasn't stupid, I knew why. I just needed to keep the topic in circulation to allow it to sink in.
Maitland shrugged pathetically. I could tell this was killing her. At least I had Brendon and the boys to hold me up. Maitland and Davey depended on one another, they practically lived together. They were absolutely best friends and spent so much time together, they were kind of their own little cliqued off section of our group.
"I'm really upset with her. I'm thinking of returning the pants she just bought and left here. Putting the cash towards a pair of shoes I want."
The sides of my mouth perked up, albeit sadly at this remark. Maitland had a shoe fetish and it was pretty evident to anyone who walked into the house. There were shoes Every. Where. Silly scene girl.
"Lemme see them, maybe you could just give them to me? I know you love me more than Chuck Taylor." I batted my eyelashes over dramatically and clasped my hands together at one side of my face.
"Okay, okay. I'll let you try them on, just stop making that face for Pete's sake." she got up and headed through the mess of her living room towards the bedroom.
"Actually," I followed her, "Pete likes my pookie face. He says it compliments his growly face."
Maitland cocked an eyebrow over her shoulder, "Can you take a moment and consider the source. Then come back and try to make that argument again."
"Hey, he's a little nutzo"-
Maitland snorted and rolled her eyes, "Just a /little/." she commented sarcastically, wearing a smile the whole time as she rooted through the jeans in her closet.
"/But/, he also gets panties thrown at him on a nightly basis. You can't mess with a man like that, for he has obviously made some kind of pact with the Devil."
"I could have told you that myself." she mumbled.
"What was that?" I cocked an amused eyebrow. I don't care what Maitland said, behind that tough, working girl exterior, I think she had it bad for Mr. Wentz. She just refused to admit it because that would totally screw with her 'Huge rockstars are no better than corporate assholes. Yes, Bailey. Even if they sign your boyfriend.' argument.
"Nothing." she shoved a pair of jeans at me and started to walk away."
"I think you said: I /know/ Bailey, I wish /I/ could throw /my /panties at Pete!" I imitated her voice very poorly with crescendoing falsettos and slurred vowels. She slammed the closet door in my face two steps short of my freedom and shouted for me to 'Just try the damn jeans on.'
Chuckling to myself I unzipped my own skirt and pushed it down. These jeans were really cute. They were vintage looking, skinny fit capris. With the right blouse and headband they'd look totally fab...maybe some red polka dots courtesy of Spencer's Sharpie collection. Yes, I could see this fitting in with my closet beautifully.
If only they'd fit in with my /body/.
/'Okay, I know these are skinnies but geez louise'/- I loved that phrase. That and Golly Gee Sanda Dee. Hee.
I almost cried when the zippers wouldn't come together. Snaking the pants off with depression weighing down my veins, I checked the tag on the back. They were a size four. This time my throat caught me off guard and really did start to convulse. A few tears fell from my eyes before I could even begin to calm myself down.
"Hey, Bails, you're not saying anything. Come out and show me what they look like." Maitland rapped on the door lightly with her knuckle. Wiping my tears away, I took a few deep breaths and forced myself to shout back.
"I don't really like them, I think it's better if you just buy your shoes." A wince tore up my face when my voice warbled at the last three words.
"Bails? Honey, are you okay? Do you need some help?"
"I'm fine." I called back. My knees had given out at this point and I was sitting on the ground staring at my denim skirt. The last thing I wanted was to crawl back into that beast. I didn't want to face the world at all. I just wanted to go on my run as soon as possible. Tomorrow seemed like so far away it felt criminal. But I'd wait. I was going to beat this. I was going to get a grip on myself. Even if it killed me.