Home > Stay with Me(2)

Stay with Me(2)
Author: Nicole Fiorina

   “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” My chin dropped as I straightened my oversized black t-shirt that read “cute but psycho” over my destroyed jean shorts, revealing my chicken legs. One would think I was naked underneath, the shirt was so big, but I wasn’t. I was covered. Promise, Dad.

   “Nothing’s wrong. Let’s move. We’re already late for the airport,” my father said, waving me down. He always avoided confrontation at all cost, and sometimes I wondered who he was more scared of—Diane or me? At this angle, I finally noticed the bald spot he’d been complaining about on the top of his head. I never believed him before, but now I didn’t care enough to point out he was correct. He’d been a handsome man, but even with Diane around, loneliness had sucked the life out of him. Bags scalloped under his brown eyes and his cheeks were sunken.

   Marriage would do that to you.

   The suitcase banged against each stair as I stepped down. “She could have, at the very least, brushed her hair,” Diane said under her breath as she walked out the door ahead of my father and me. I pressed my lips together at the hypocrisy of her statement. At least I could run a brush through my hair if I wanted to.

   “Not too much longer now,” my father said as he gripped the handle of the suitcase and brought it behind him. He was right. Only eleven and a half hours longer, and I would be 3,447 miles away from both of them, give or take. He was choosing a perfect life, and I wasn’t a part of perfect, and that was okay. I’d done my research. I knew what was waiting for me on the opposite side of the plane ride.

   Dolor University was a reformatory college—prison—specifically designed for troubled souls and delinquents who suffered from mental illnesses, addictions, and a poor parental guidance that led one to a career in crime. Apparently, the best in the world, located in none other than the United Kingdom. I couldn’t help but think the reason for the location was so they wouldn’t feel pressured to visit, and I was okay with that. They could ship me wherever. I didn’t want to be around people who didn’t want to be around me, anyway. Isolation was my paradise.

   I kept my attention out the window, twirling my dirty brown hair around my finger the entire way to the airport while my father went on about the curriculum.

   “With Mia Rose’s history, we should have chosen an all-girl reformatory,” Diane scoffed.

   “Mia Rose needs diversity,” my father reminded her.

   “Mia Rose is right here and can speak for herself,” I informed both of them.

   Diane conveniently stayed in the car as my father escorted me through baggage check-in and to the end of the line at security. He couldn’t go any farther, and I was surprised he had made it this far.

   I stood before him as his eyes glossed over. “I’m sorry, Mia.”

   He had never been good with words, but neither had I. Seconds passed, and he still couldn’t look me in the eyes. He never could. Even when I talked to him, he’d look past me as if I were a ghost.

   Look at me, Dad.

   But, after a single nod, he turned and left me without so much as a second glance as I clutched my passport and plane ticket in my hand.



   Chapter Two

   “It was instantaneous, the mutual agreement between

   her mind, heart, body, and soul. All at once they left her,

   replaced by four walls. Though inside, she’s screaming,

   the darkness was inevitable. It was instantaneous.”

   —Oliver Masters

   THE FLIGHT WASN’T so bad. No obnoxious crying children or Chatty Kathy’s. Though, I didn’t look like the type to entertain a conversation. People tended to stay away from me. Resting bitch face was real, and I wore my venom on my sleeve, not my heart—I didn’t have one. Well, yes, I had the organ that was continuously flowing blood through my body. It did its job, unfortunately.

   I spent the entire flight leaned against the window, looking out into the different shades of blue with my wireless headphones over my head, listening to playlists most would criticize. As the color of the ocean blurred into the sky, it was hard to tell where the water stopped and where the sky began.

   Surprisingly, my father had arranged for a limousine to transport me from the airport to the university. It was nothing more than a guilt trip—literally.

   The sky was now shades of gray on the verge of a rainstorm. As we approached the tall iron gates of the school, the letter “D” was monogrammed front and center before they slowly opened, splitting the “D” in half. A tall brick wall wrapped around the entire campus. No way to escape once the gates closed. If it weren’t for the security guard who was sent by Dolor’s finest, I would have jumped out at the first opportunity, more than happy to leave my suitcase behind. Even my condoms. I could find my way around the United Kingdom, beg for food, sleep in alleyways. The thought of my dad receiving that call made me smile to myself. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

   The large German man sneered over at me as the idea crossed my mind, or at least I assumed he was German by the looks of him. He was tall with a shaved head, muscular build, square jaw, and light eyes. He didn’t speak but looked like the kind of man vocal during a game of rugby. Did he know what I was planning? Inevitably, someone had to have attempted the great escape before. I could only imagine at least a dozen escape attempts, each one ending worse than the next.

   I fell back into the black leather and averted my eyes from the silent German man and looked out the tinted window toward the castle before me.

   The lawn was perfectly manicured with the lawnmower stripes still visible. Vines snaked vertically up the sides of the stone castle walls. A tall tower protruded on the left-hand side, and on the right sat a separate building wholly detached and made of concrete. Victorian windows covered the majority of the front of the castle with the addition of black bars across them.

   No way out.

   The limousine came to a stop, and a one-man welcoming committee greeted me as soon as the driver opened the door.

   “Thank you, Stanley,” the older gentleman said, greeting the Silent German as I exited the vehicle. “Hello, Ms. Jett, welcome to Dolor. I’m Dean Lynch. Now, follow me.” Lynch didn’t bother extending a hand for a formal shake, which filled me with relief. I followed behind him with my luggage in hand and my headphones around the back of my neck. We walked through the tall wooden double doors and a security checkpoint conveniently waited for me. Stanley took my suitcase and laid it across a revolving belt before it entered the scanner for the second time within the last twenty-four hours.

   “Arms up,” Stanley insisted with a wave of a stick. He speaks.

   I raised my arms to my sides as my face found the ceiling. “Is this all really necessary?”

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