Lament: A Contemporary Bully Romance Novella, page 1
Lament: Copyright © 2019: K.M. Raya. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used simply for the purpose of furthering the storyline and do not represent the institutions or places of business in any way. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental or used for fictional purposes.
It had been eight months since she'd been able to look her mother in the eyes. Eight long months since she'd willingly spoken to another person.
Freya couldn't bring herself to care about losing her voice or the respect of her parents. She just wanted to sleep—to lay down and dream until it no longer hurt to be awake. Today she would need to get up though. She would have no choice but to get dressed and rejoin the world that had forgotten her--or so she hoped it had. Her bag was packed already and sat in a purple heap on the edge of her messy, unmade bed. She stared at it and silently willed the sadness not to overtake her.
Mina had given her that bag for her seventeenth birthday. It was plum purple— Mina’s favorite color. Freya’s slate grey eyes began to fill with tears but she looked to the ceiling instead, sniffing hard and refused to let them fall.
Downstairs her parents sat at the dining room table drinking coffee before the long drive ahead. The other students would be filing onto a charter bus by now, and Freya thanked the heavens when her parents had offered to drive her to camp themselves. It did surprise her though, that they were willing to endure her presence for even that short amount of time.
After a tense breakfast that consisted of food being pushed around her plate, Freya and her parents piled into her fathers’ truck and drove off into what was sure to be a death sentence.
Three long hours of gripping the seat beneath her with white knuckles and clenched teeth passed before they arrived at Wolf Mountain Summer Camp, where she and the other wealthy and privileged students of Madsen Prep would be spending their entire summer. It would be her last year at Wolf Mountain and for that she was genuinely sad. Summers on the mountain had been the highlight of her teenage years for so long that she, Mina and Carmen had thought about becoming counselors after graduation.
But that was before.
When life had been full of possibilities.
Freya’s parents sat in the front two seats of the truck in silence as they stopped at the gates and she took it as her cue to leave. She couldn't bare to look at them one last time because she didn’t want to see that they were disgusted with her. She exited the cab of the truck with her one small bag. Before she was able to walk five whole steps, her father's tires rumbled over the dirt road and exited the parking lot. Her eyes were stinging but she refused to let her tears fall.
Not for them.
Dragging her purple bag up to her shoulder was easy. She didn't bring much with her, just the basics like clothing, shoes and toiletries. A few books had been added last minute when she realized that this summer wouldn't be filled with swimming, rock climbing and activities. No, those were things that the old Freya did. The new Freya had to concentrate just to remember to breathe.
As she walked up the incline that led to the camps entrance, her leg started to ache. It was a dull pain that began at her ankle, slid to her thigh and made her hip bone sting. The dislocation the winter before had been bad enough that the EMT had thought it was broken at first glance, but she was healing now despite the pain.
It was hot outside already in the beginning of May but she refused to wear shorts. Gone were the days of showing off her long smooth legs for the boys by the lake. Instead, she practically lived in leggings that covered her ugly scars and allowed her healing legs to breathe.
Campers were arriving by the dozens and she could feel the anxiety beginning to well up in her chest. It was a choking, tight sensation in her throat and she cursed herself for being so sensitive. Freya raised her eyes from her feet for the first time to scan for her cabin number but was startled to see that many eyes seemed to be on her. Classmates had stopped in their tracks and gaped openly at the sight of Freya— daring to show her face in their presence. These were the people who had looked up to her once upon a time, and now they looked down on her like gum on the bottom of their shoes.
She refused to let them see that it bothered her as she lifted her chin and kept walking. Their eyes and whispers followed her until she reached the porch steps of cabin number thirteen.
The cabins were beautiful— dark pine walls with low lighting and spaced out with three twin beds, each on its own wall with matching dressers and a private bathroom off to the side. Freya took a deep breath, inhaling the musty aroma of sunscreen and lake water. It was a balm to her battered soul, but the nostalgia of it all was almost enough to cripple her.
Freya chose the bed to the left hand side and plopped her bag onto its faded quilt before throwing herself down next to it. She stared at the vaulted ceiling and contemplated the summer ahead. A year ago today, she would have been laughing uproariously as Mina and Carmen fought over the middle bed just like they had year after year since about the sixth grade. Eventually, Carmen would win and Mina would sulk for all of five minutes before commanding them all to throw on their swimsuits and head to the lake.
Freya wished more than anything, as she lay in the bed alone that these memories would stop assaulting her but she knew it was an impossible dream.
The door squeaked open and a head of bright red hair peaked around the door. The girl— one she had never seen before, smiled at Freya with a wide mouth and laughing dark brown eyes. The girl was tall and gangly, but she was very pretty with small golden freckles dotting the bridge of her upturned nose. Her warm smile immediately lifted the tension that had suddenly filled Freya's chest.
"Hey roomie!" The girl tossed over her shoulder as she turned to haul a massive black suitcase through the doorway. Freya didn't respond, but managed to give her a small smile as their eyes locked for a brief moment. She wasn't trying to be rude, but she didn't quite have it in her to give her a warmer greeting than that.
"I'm Samantha, but you can just call me Sam— everyone does except my mom even though she knows I hate it," she explained needlessly as Freya just watched in bewilderment and awe as Sam pulled yet another black case through the door.
Sam situated herself and began stacking her various makeup bags and boxes of shoes around her side of the room while Freya discreetly glanced at her tiny purple bag filled with everything that mattered to her— which wasn't saying much. She couldn't honestly bring herself to care about trivial things such as makeup or hair products, not anymore. There was nobody left to impress and nobody left to care.
"So, roomie...I don't want to be rude or anything, but could you at least tell me your name? We're gonna be living together for three whole months so we might as well get it out of the way," Sam asked in the nicest possible way.
Freya winced. She was being rude. She knew this. Reluctantly, she opened her mouth for the first time in months.
"Freya," she said. Her voice was raspy and low— like she was chewing on a rock.
Sam's brows furrowed at the roughness of Freya's voice. "Are you sick?" She asked with genuine concern.
"No..." Freya cleared her throat. "Just haven't spoken in a while I guess
"Alright, that's understandable...anyways, let's take a walk and feel this place out! I don't know anyone because I'll be starting school this year so it would be nice to have a friend with me," she pleaded and Freya felt her stomach drop at the prospect of leaving her safe little cabin.
"I don't think that's such a good idea, Sam," she warned the girl without meeting her kind brown eyes. "Trust me when I tell you that you probably don't want to be seen with me at all. You might even want to put in for a cabin transfer. You won't make any friends if you hang around me."
Sam giggled, startling her. "Do you have the plague or something?" She joked as she threw on a pair of aviator sunglasses and walked to the front door. "Come on, grumpy, let's explore a little!" She commanded as she left the room, the door swinging behind her.
Freya gaped at the closed door. Sam had come in there like whirlwind and it truly baffled her. Against her better judgement, she threw her hair into a messy ponytail and followed Sam out into the midday sun.
The mountain air was crisp and fresh as they headed down a familiar forest path that Freya knew led to the lake. She had walked this particular section of trees more times than she could possibly count.
As they walked in companionable silence, she could almost hear the haunting echoes of Carmen's laughter and Mina's whistling that used to annoy her. She shook the memory away as they neared the edge of the sand.
Wolf Lake stretched out across the horizon like a field of shining blue gems, glittering under the warm sun. The sandy beach was filled already with campers ready for a summer of sunbathing and relaxation. She always loved the lake— surrounded by towering green trees and very little wind that funneled its way in between the mountains. The air was thin but incredibly refreshing as she took deep breaths in and out.
"Wow, we really get to stay here for the whole summer? Utah had nothing on this place that's for sure!" Squealed Sam as she gazed around in awe.
"I’ve never even left California," Freya told her as a way to make polite conversation. In reality, she hadn't been much of anywhere during her childhood with her parents being busy with the law firm and all.
Sam sighed and nudged Freya's arm with her elbow. "You're not missing much in Utah, just a bunch of red rock and salt flats. Not exactly an oasis." She rolled her brown eyes before turning to watch the other campers swim.
The girls made their way down to the water where small waves lapped at their toes. Freya held her tennis shoes in her hand as she swayed up to her ankles in the water. Sam told Freya that she would be right back as she wanted to buy a soda from the snack bar. Freya just nodded as her roommate walked off— red curls bouncing as she did.
In the distance, Freya watched as a group of boys wrestled with one another out on the docks that floated a ways out. The docks were large and brown and held in place by thick chains that were anchored to the floor of the lake-bed. The boys were having a great time from what she could see. They were cute, all tanned and fresh faced. One in particular caught her eye though. His long, shoulder length blonde hair could be seen easily from her spot on the beach and there was no mistaking that body. Built like a baseball player— because he was one, he was lean and fit.
Carmen's twin brother.
Freya's stomach dropped as she realized who it was and who would be attending camp with her.
‘Why is he here?’ She thought to herself.
He should be back home with his family, not frolicking in the lake with the guys like it's any normal summer. Freya felt a hot wave of anger surge up from within her—the first identifiable emotion other than sadness that she had felt since that night.
Before she had the chance to turn around and leave, Sebastian's gaze landed on her. She could feel more than see the surprise in his eyes as he stopped what he was doing to stare. The other boys noticed this and followed his line of sight before gaping at her. One by one the boys simultaneously flipped her an unfortunate finger and spit into the water.
Sebastian, although he neither spit nor flipped her off, glared at her as if he could melt her pale body into a puddle right there in the hot sand. She couldn’t blame him for that though.
Freya was startled when a gentle hand landed on her shoulder. "Ready to head back? Orientations at six so we should be able to shower and change in time to get some good seats." Sam suggested and Freya was more than happy to oblige. Anything to tear herself away from Sebastian's accusing glare. Turning her back on the blond haired boy with broken blue eyes, she followed Sam back up the trail to their cabin.
Orientation was held around a bonfire in what was called the Amphitheater. Reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum— pillars rose from the ground and surrounded the low stone seats that descended downwards facing the fire pit below.
Freya could remember countless summers spent in the Amphitheater, singing songs with other campers next to a blazing fire...sneaking off to kiss a boy behind a pillar or playing truth or dare by the light of smoldering ashes with Carmen, Mina and the boys.
The memories were hitting her hard as she searched for a place to sit. Everything about the place felt cold and unwelcoming, especially the icy glares that were being sent her way everywhere she looked. She cursed her parents for making her come to Wolf Mountain. What were they thinking?
Sam grabbed Freya by the elbow and led her to the stone steps towards an open row near the end but just as soon as she let her focus go, a foot slipped out, tripping her and causing her to fall to her knees. Freya's knees hit hard and the pain from her previous injuries ricocheted around inside of her, rattling her bones. She cried out in pain but regretted it when she heard others snickering around her.
"Shit!" Yelled Sam and she rushed to help her up. Freya took her outstretched hand gratefully and limped up the rest of the stairs.
She could feel eyes on her and looked up once she seated herself. On the other side of the Amphitheater sat Sebastian and his buddies. The guys were laughing and pointing at Freya but Sebastian just sat there, glaring at her unnervingly. A red haired boy next to him reenacted Freya's fall quite dramatically and this caused Sebastian's lip to twitch in laughter.
Her eyes were burning, as were her cheeks and she felt so much shame in that moment.
"Just ignore them, they're obviously being immature,"Sam reassured her, but Sam didn't know the whole story. Sure, it sucked to be treated like a leper, but it was nothing that she didn't deserve.
Orientation came and went with the usual antics. People sang campy songs and the counselors tried to engage the teenagers in various cheesy games but before she knew it, the night was winding down and it was time to head back to the cabin. Her relief at this was potent and she tried not to think about how tomorrow would be much more of the same.
Back in the cabin, the girls noticed right away that the other bed was occupied. A slight form, curled up beneath the quilt breathed steadily. Sam looked at Freya and shrugged before heading to the bathroom to get ready for bed. That night, Freya slept fitfully. Her bed was situated beneath a small window which allowed the full moon to hover right overhead through the canopy of pines. Eventually she drifted off to sleep.
Carmen squealed in delight as Ben kissed her on the cheek before guzzling his beer a moment later. Freya could see her best friends bright blue eyes shining with love even as she rubbed Ben's saliva off her cheek. Homecoming had been a blast and the after party was being held at Josiah Martens house while his parents were out of town.
Mina stumbled into the kitchen, catching herself on the counter top and giggling as she attempted not to fall. Freya's vision was becoming fuzzy even though she hadn't been drinking as much as her friends.
"Home. Freakin. Coming, y'all!" Shouted Carmen and she downed another shot of who knows what. Everyone in the kitchen hooted and cheered as they shot back their own
The night could not be more perfect and she wished it could last forever. She'd been crowned Homecoming Princess that night and wasn't even mad that Mina had won Queen. They were royalty and Madsen Prep was their kingdom!
The night was coming to a close and Freya was reluctant to follow her friends out the front door. She wanted to stay with Sebastian because things were starting to look up for her in that department. After years of being seen as his twin sisters annoying friend, Sebastian had started to look at her a bit differently as of late. The same way she had been looking at him for the better part of six years. But alas, her friends had other ideas.
Carmen dragged her by the wrist, leading her outside but not before Freya and Sebastian locked eyes one last time. His dark blue gaze wrapped around her skin like a gentle caress— full of promises that gave her chills. She sent him a wink before allowing herself to be hauled outside into the frigid night. Her vision became spotty and the edges were closing in as she fished her keys out of her small clutch.
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