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Chapter Three: Reverie

(Part One)

Oh god...I'm so stupid.

So stupid!

What the hell is the matter with me?!

Why doesn't he care anymore...

What can I do to make him care?

You can't do anything.

Renee physically flinched.

Shut up!

Well it's true, isn't it? You're too boring, too unimportant for him. Of course.

Oh, please, please just shut up!


"Please..." she muttered to herself. One of the popular girls stared at her.

I'm begging you.

That's all you do, isn't it? Beg and cringe and whine, like a dog after scraps.


You're pathetic.

Renee felt the blood pound in her cheeks. Suddenly, she couldn't stand being there one moment longer. Clutching the strap of her schoolbag to make sure it didn't rip and tear, she set off at a run for the school gates.

That was when she heard the voice calling.

"Hey-hey, you! Wait! Wait up!"

Of course it wasn't meant for her. The only people who called after her were currently in the abandoned gym, trying to smoke off several hangovers. And anyway, they all knew her name. Not that they used it of course, but they knew it. Or at least she thought so.

Even as she thought all this, somehow, she found herself turning. Instinct, perhaps- maybe habit, from those far-off happy days when she still had friends.

So she turned. What she saw surprised her immensely.

A tall guy was apparently running in her direction. She blinked in confusion. Long, black hair that curled just a little and always flopped into his eyes, those warm brown eyes....even though a fan of sports, his figure was rather lanky than athletic, probably owing to his skinniness and his height. That didn't appear to bother girls, though. His quick wit and sharp tongue made him the dream date of almost all the first years- the hopeless, silly crush of fourteen-year-olds. But not just among freshman students. Katerina, his girlfriend, was one of the most pretty and popular girls of the school.

Renee sighed. Of course she recognized him; who wouldn't? Axel Swifton, the number one jock of the school. But he couldn't be running towards her....no way. He'd never even spoken to her before. Yet still she paused, waiting.

Waiting to be humiliated said a snide voice in her head.

Go away! she ordered.

"H-hey." He'd apparently run all the way from the entrance. His normally extremely pale skin was flushed slightly.

Renee blinked in confusion. Axel Swifton was talking to her? No...no way. She stared at him in confusion, barely canceled apprehension.

Axel stared back. Now that he had actually found her, he hadn't a clue what to say. "Uh...."

She blinked some more.

Huh, she does that a lot. He thought. But not the way the other girls do. No. Suddenly beset by the terror he'd made a mistake, he looked down at the ground. The girl's black boots caught his eye. Black leather, with crisscrossed black laces, undoubtedly stretching up to her knees. He allowed his eyes to travel up. Black close-fitting jeans that would make anyone even slightly heavier than her look fat; a tight black top with a wrapped design that showed off her tiny waist, a wide, plunging neck in a v-shape that joined to the long black sleeves- too long, ending in the cut flared ends that seemed to be so popular with Goths at the moment. Her fingers were short but delicate, chewed nails painted black.

He lifted his eyes to her face.

A violent pattern of black and white was his first impression. The pale, almost deathly pallor of her throught was accented by the black cloth, then slashed again by dark brown eyes heavily rimmed by black eyeliner beneath dark eyebrows, then the whiteness of her forehead against the black cascade of her thick hair. Her face was thin boned, delicate, with an oval shape and high cheekbones. Her eyes were amazing; doe-shaped, long, thick lashes underneath arched eyebrows.

Axel blinked, speechless again.

The girl waited, her brow furrowed slightly, her distrustful gaze on him. She didn't move or speak. She seemed quite content to stand there for the rest of the day, if that was his wish. Inwardly, Axel felt slightly relieved; the only other goth he'd ever happened to have talked to had been some chick at a party; she'd leant against a wall swigging booze while swearing at the pop music people were dancing to half the time, the other half smoking a joint with some other seemingly like-minded friends of hers.

No comparison.

Renee watched him, bewildered. What's he want? What's going on? Then, noticing the faraway look in his eyes- what's he thinking? Then, again- What the hell is going on?!

Finally growing impatient, she spoke. Her voice sounded rusty, unused, damaged by countless cigarettes and nights spent screaming. "Uh....yes?"

He started, coming back. "Oh, um.....yeah." he found her voice intoxicating; low, not shrill like most girls he knew. Hesitant, cautious, it had a slight hoarse edge that gave a slight bight to her unfamiliar accent.

"...yeah?" the eyes were almost scared. What's she scared of? He thought. Me? Why?

"Oh...um...." he was petrified he'd got the wrong person. That when he made his accusation, or consolation, or whatever it was, this other girl would get offended and walk away in a huff. Strange for him, to be worried whether he'd offended someone or not. Seeing her growing impatience, he seized on the easiest thing to say. "Uh....I'm Axel. Axel Swifton."

She blinked again. What the hell....?

He waited a few minutes, then, seeing no response forthcoming, said, "Um...I don't know really how to say this...you see....the thing is...." He was suddenly aware of what he sounded like. He attempted to sharpen his tone. "Uh....did you happen to be in the woods yesterday, by any chance? At around about dark?"

Renee froze. Oh my God!


Axel waited a few seconds, then went on, "because I, uh....well." then, he decided to gamble. "I was there last night. And....I think you know who I am."

Renee closed her eyes, despairing. No, no, no!!! That was him?! Of all the people it was him?! Him?! Oh god, fate really loves me, doesn't it? Oh god what the hell am I gonna do now?! Oh fuck fuck fuck....

"Um, hello?" He waved a hand in front of her face. "Anyone home?"

She opened her eyes. Then she shook her head.

He was relieved to get a response at last. "then it was you?"

She turned away, shook her head once more.


He watched her move away, half relieved he'd escaped that responsibility. What was I thinking? And anyway, who cares if some chick got bored of living?

The next moment he felt sickened by himself. Who cares?

I care.

She's another human being, isn't she?

I care. I do.

With this newly-established commitment came new-found certainty. He ran after her, caught her arm.


She gasped and pulled away. Mutely, she stared at him as though in pain.

"Oh, ok." He held up his hands placating. "You don't like being touched. Cool. I'm down with that. Just- are you sure you weren't there?"

Oh god! "No, of course not!" she lied. "look, I don't know what-"

"You're lying."

Renee felt the blood rush to her cheeks. "No, I'm not, really-"

"Yes you are." Now, blushing, she looked somewhat healthier, he thought. It got rid of the deathly pallor, anyway. "I don't know how, but somehow, yesterday, you ended up in the river. You were swept down to the bank, where I happened to see you. I pulled you out, but you wouldn't talk to me." He saw her eyes getting brighter, a frantic, trapped look coming into them.

Oh god, no no no! she cursed silently he knows, he knows, he knows.....

"Hey- don't worry- I, uh...." he paused, trying to find the right words. Stepping closer, he forced her to look him in the eye. "Look...I'm not trying to make trouble for you. I'm.....worried. I think....I think you fell into the river on purpose, didn't you?"

She was trembling, her face now white.

"Didn't you?"

She suddenly sprang away, unable to stand it one minute longer. Axel caught her again. "Wait!" he seemed upset, passionate. "Can't you see I'm trying to help you?"

She stopped and looked up at him, her eyes now full of despair.

"What do you want?" she whispered brokenly.

Axel raised his eyebrows. "God be praised, she speaks! It's a miracle!" then, seeing her pained reaction said hurriedly- "I'm sorry. It's just....you don't seem to talk much, do you?"

She shook her head. Axel laughed.

"Well, ok, just listen then. I...I don't know why, but I want to help you. Even though I don't know you. Even though you so obviously don't want to be helped. I don't want you to...to do something like that again. To hurt yourself."

She felt herself blush. Why does he care...?

"...why?" she said hesitantly.

Axel shrugged. "I....I don't know. Perhaps it's because I saved your life, I feel responsible for you, I don't know....."

"You want to...help me.....?"

Instantly, she was transported back in time.

Two years ago. She'd been 14, so young, so naïve. Confused and disturbed, offended by her mother's rejection, she'd looked for other sources of comfort. She wanted desperately to be accepted. Even so, she wasn't sure.

"I want to help you." He'd seemed like a god in her eyes, two years older than her and all-wise, so knowing, with the easy commanding assurance. "Come on. It's easy." Chad's voice was so persuasive, so charming. It was a nice voice, not too low but with a slightly harsh biting accent that Renee found intoxicating.

"Come on...." now there was the slightest shade of a frown. "Oh, well, maybe you're too young."

She'd turned as though slapped. "No I'm not!" she had told him. And, "No, I'm not" she had told herself, and just to prove it, reached for the bottle.

The first step on the long road that lead to hell. It also had lead to attempted suicide at age 16.

"I want to help you." Axel repeated, then wondered why she stared at him in sudden terror..

"To help me?" she repeated, her voice now stronger, ominous with threat.

"Well, yes- I mean, if you try to- hey! Wait! Wait!!!"

She had already sprinted out of the gate.

Axel followed a few paces, then decided to let her go. Angrily he kicked the curb.

A guy watching him laughed. "Girls, eh?" he said. "Never know where you are with 'em."

"What?" Axel asked vaguely. Then, "Oh. Yes." He turned to look at the gate through which the goth had run.

Lost in thought, he didn't hear the blonde approaching him until she called out his name.


He turned.

"Oh, Katerina!" he said, feeling his insides jump at the sight of her. "Kat-"

"Where the hell were you yesterday?! Eh?!" Katerina was mad. Very mad. She jabbed a finger in his direction, other hand on hip. "We'd arranged to meet, remember?"

"Oh, yeah, you see, Mike wanted me to wait with him for-"

"Oh really? Are you sure that's what's happened?!" her eyes were bright with unshed tears. "Or were you just with someone else, maybe?"

"W-what?" Axel blinked. Katerina knew how much he loved her, she'd said so many times. "N-no-"

"Oh yeah? Then who was that freaky goth-girl you were talking to just now? You seemed pretty intimate with her!"

"Wh- oh, no, that's-"

But Katerina wasn't listening. "Well, fine, Axel if that's what you want, I'm not going to be part of your little harem!" drawing a hand across her eyes dramatically, she turned and started to flounce away.

Axel felt himself go white. "No, Katerina, wait-!"

The other guy who had been watching before saw him darting after her, catching her up, saw her momentarily-smug face, before she was enveloped in a passionate kiss from her newly reinstated boyfriend.

He took another drag on his cigarette, then laughed.


Part two coming soon!!!