The colors of red and orange play amongst the lids of her eyes, as the sun shown down on her face. She had been constantly put in the dark by her family,her bestfriend,then the guy she thought who loved her. Feeling like she was gazing a blurred hue of a sunset she would never be able to see,wanting to be pulled in that light to enjoy; believing and was uncertain to maintain it, always a constant trial and error she tried hard to obtain and so it became an essence that was missing from her life.Therefore she just stopped trying all together,thinking maybe it was just meant for her life to be black and white and should stop questioning 'why?'.
Zoey hadn't been looking for an abandoned adventure ready to be rediscovered at the time,her feet led her where she needed to be. After stumbling upon the abandoned property the summer when she first moved to Crystal Avenue two years ago,into her grandmothers cottage. It became a part of her life.This garden became her sanctuary; to unleash the emotional walls she kept up throughout the day, every day, always with a smile on her lips.The cold autumn air numbed her rosy cheeks and chapped lips, while her feet brushed the parched ankle length grass, as she swinged back and forth. It was perplexing how this resistance of her emotions from faltering didn't, because at times she wanted to give up. Being unaware of the fact her parents had inherited a cottage from her grandmother-mother's mom as a wedding present. Until her mother signed over the estate to her four days later across Giovanni's table after the havoc came into their lives. Though, Zoey gave her mother credit for at least telling the truth about something-eventually-instead of shadowing the rest of her life from her family. A part of her felt like she no longer knew who her mother was anymore.
Maybe she truely never did.
She could hear tree leaves crackle as the nippy wind passes through them slowly, teasingly,the sound flowing through her ears. It was ridiculous how easily she compared this metaphor to her 'ex-one and only' every time the sound would flow within her ears, whom she let into her life and her heart, nevertheless; destroyed her life and broke her heart. A constant question nipped her conscious wondering whether it possible to no longer feel a part of something yet feel that something still bounds you unwillingly down to it? Regardless if it was buried years and years in the past.
The worn grey pea coat she'd bought from Macy's, twisted under her armpits as her arms were towered above her head, hands holding onto the icy hinges of the swing. Zoey didn't know whether anyone knew about the garden that remained behind the old Victorian house at the end of Crystal Avenue nor did she care. Finally, she had a secret of her own. Finally-something- became a comfort of stability in her life. Never to say it so quickly, knowing it'd disappear right infront of her as it seemed everything else important in her life had.
Zoey had been to a shrink for what was thought of becoming depression, taken overpriced yoga classes Dr. Nelson had suggested in Manhattan after Zoey admitted to him he was no longer a beneficiary, then trickled down to the point of taking prescription drugs for her anxiety to help her 'problem'. Well, at least that's what they diagnosed her with. But, she knew they only wanted to swallow her in medication to get rid of a lost cause, they didn't want to deal with any longer, it was okay though she no longer wanted to deal with them or the numbness. Wishing that her mother would stop meddling in her life,because she was never there when she truly needed her most. Life changed immensely over the past five years not only of herself but her family and she was becoming emotionally drained.This place enveloped everything that haunted her mind, finding something even medication couldn't fix temporarily--nature--became her medication.
Even though James had scarred her, a driven force kept her up to make sure he served for this injustice. For that she was gracious. Because, she knew if it hadnt she would always blame herself a coward. On there on accord Zoey's brown eyes transfixed on the swirling natural hues beneath her feet, becoming lost in rapid flashes of her past playing in her mind.
I slumped down to the plush white carpet of the living room, feeling my eyes straining not to blink back tears from the stinging of my cheek. The slamming of the front door echoed through the house. I was alone. And feeling stupid for not speaking out the first time it happened.
"God please don't let my new chapter in life begin this way"
I shouldn't have let it happen period.
He had made it an open invitation in their relationship, 'to discipline' James called it. The feeling of regret made a permanent place in her heart, regretting that irrational decision to live with him due to her own problems she tried to escape. He made her life-herself feel as if she was a fleck of dirt.
So she payed the price.
He would taunt her knowing he'd hurt her feelings,ignore her,belittle what little self-confidence she'd been trying to build up; he would do it all without remorse in his eyes. How can someone thrive for a woman's attention with adoration in the beginning, only turn over the jack card so quickly? She wondered how he came to grasp such a dark heart. James became such a good actor in such short time,so well, infact she felt like Eve who had fell for the serpent; given her heart to him, thinking he had given his to her as well. But, soon realized that was not love. Love wasn't supposed to feel this way; trying to hold on with all your strength, terrified of what his unpredictable actions would be, restless, watching your actions carefully in hope not to upset him and to keep the expectation appearance of the sweet and proper lady for him.
All for a rotten apple.
'How did I let this carry on for so long?' I thought, because I didn't know myself. Tears began to fall as I bit the back of my hand, failing to silence the shaky wails. I vowed never to show my pain around him-at least tried. I wouldn't call this feeling I had for him love...I honestly had no defined term for it.
Zoey, let the air in her lungs free. The familiar compression in her chest from those memories in her mind-released memories she tried forgetting over the years. But, her ears still hears the echo of his blatant words in her mind.
"You really think I'd suddenly give up my life for someone like you?" watching the vein on his right temple pulsate, from clenching his jaw. "You know for a girl who got accepted into Brown you're pretty f*cking stupid"
James had let her catch him that night; he seemed to not care about their relationship any longer, the pondering question to whether he ever did occasionally intruded her mind after that night. Remembering coming home from her last class of the day on Thursday, to surprise him with concert tickets. When she saw the white Mercedes parked in the driveway blocking her parking spot in the garage, Zoey naively, assumed his mother may have stopped, knowing she'd have to conform to sit an hour through forced conversation. Mrs. Loins made it apparent she did not like Zoey and she never would.
Though, those thoughts vanished when she opened up the door to his-'their' condominium at the time. Hearing their voices and groans carry throughout the house, seeing them in 'their' bed together. It made her sick as she stood in the open doorway, clothes scattered about, watching them caused bile to rise in her throat. More than anything, it sickened her for not taking her leave that moment--all she could do was stare--wishing it was all a terrible dream.
"How can you act like everything is fine! Where is your compassion in that vile body of yours for other people's feelings?" It had been over an hour since I caught him with another girl. He hadn't bothered to apologize, simply looked at me with a blank stare, telling me to go wait downstairs where moments later I quickly saw the girl he'd been with dash out the door. "Are you not sorry at all? Why James? IF you didn't want to be with me you should f*cking said something instead of playing me like a puppet on strings!"
I watched him sit on his bed texting on his iphone in silence. When he'd confessed that he'd been dating another girl on the side, I soon realized it was the same girl I had seen at the parties we went to. Noelle was her name. I didn't care how long the affair had been going on,it was the balant fact it happened at all. I'd wasted a year and a half over someone who didn't even care for me and knowing that he didn't care-love me hurt more than anything.
It stabbed a hole in my heart.
Was I really so blind? So stupid not to see it...
"Do you even love me?" not realzing the break in my voice. "Answer me!"
For some reason I still felt like crying, even after how he had treated me.I gave my heart to him and he just crushed in the palm of his hand.
'How could you be so stupid Zoey of course a rich guy like James would never truly go for someone like yourself.An english major,with average looks,who likes to curl up on Saturdays in pjs with a good book and hot chocolate'. My concious just wouldn't let up on my mental beating,but I deserved it, 'Your own mother didnt love you what makes you think that he would'.
I bit the inside of my cheek as I quickly wiped the tears that had fallen from my cheeks.
He cocked his blonde hair to the side, those eyes looking up at me amused. "Get the hell out of my house"
She walked down the charcoal steel staircase grabbing her coat from the couch, while the concert tickets fell from the coat pocket swaying to the floor,her hand grapsed the door handle biting hard on her lip tears streaming down her chin pulling it open. Noting she would just come and get her belongings tomorrow,there wasn't an ounce of strength in her body to keep the solemn composure from showing if she stayed.
Her shaky breath released as she unlocked the car door of her little red Honda,sliding in the drivers seat, and cranked up the car.
'You're so stupid Zoey' sniffling while violently shaking her head .
The engine cranked up instantly played the radio, her teeth releasing her bottom lip beckoning her mind to erase the current events she witnessed, except her heart was winning though, feeling her body slouch forward with her head pressed amongst the steering wheel her body shaking.
A gasp escaped from her lips and the lids of her eyes fluttered open, catching the sun's rays peeping through the gold, red, and orange leaves on the tall maple. Zoey exhaled through her nose, not realizing a tear had escaped from under her closed eye lids,as that night replayed. This scenery made her ache to stay in the moment forever, to have a little solitude. Knowing people looked at her differently after the mayhem between her and James, calling the victim card of domestic abuse with the Senator's son. Those golden leaves catching the sun's rays slowly danced against the bright blue sky. Precisely as she felt-like a gold leaf pile sticking out everywhere--Zoey knew exactly what people thought of her now.
Either that she was a 'conniving leech' and 'liar' making it her mission to get any money she could from him because of the Loins's wealthy status, or assuming she obviously liked being beaten on as a turn on and finally decided to get revenge for the break up. They were sick thoughts, but those thoughts from others minds had been uttered out for her to hear numerous of times. Sure, some women liked being beaten on for pleasure; Zoey would never be one of them.
The trance consuming her consciousness unsettled from her mind, as she felt the continuous vibration of her cell phone in her khaki jean pocket, notifying of an incoming call. Her fingers slipped through the tight impact of her pocket, pulled out her phone, and answering without looking who the caller was.
"Hello, Zoey. It's Keith Jillard"
Zoey straightened up on the wooden seat. "Oh! Hi Keith," she paused "Um how are you?"
He answered curtly. "I'm doing well thank you"
"So…um-I'm guessing the reason you called is to let me know the good news for next week?"
Keith paused a moment, muttered an 'um' then cleared his throat. She could feel her heart pick up pace as he kept silent, causing the smile appearing on her lips to falter.
"Afraid not," the sound of papers shuffling passed through the phone, "I need you to come down to the office as soon as you're available, it's about your current case with James Loins"
Her heart stopped.
"What do you mean? I don't understand…" planting her feet on the straw like grass and stood up, walking across the lawn, "I thought everything was settled for from the last time we met. We're closing the case next week,"
"Well--that's the problem which is why I called---they changed their mind and sent an email to me this morning, requesting for an extension of 180 days, including another ten thousand dollars,"
Her light brown orbs widen. "What! A-are you serious?" How could they ask for ten thousand dollars after they settled the agreement to five thousand, 'Is that even legal?' she wondered.
She'd given up her entire savings to pay for the settlement in advance,including her trust fund account. It was important she won the case it was all she'd ever wanted the past three years. It was all she wanted. 'Where would a college dropout find ten thousand dollars?', she thought 'I'm barely making ends meet now working as a receptionist at Cashmere Studios'.
Her heart sank and a lump began rising up her throat.
Zoey's eyes darted amongst the abandoned scenery around her, the leaves rolled over the dried grass onto the cold cement pathway. What was James trying to do to her, make her more miserable than she could hardly stand. James was always ready for her to crack so he would have another stab of opportunity to point out her faults, even to use them against her if he had to. He loved to manipulate her; a game he loved to play with her, however he had something he could truly hurt her with now.
"Tell him he knows I'm not able-I can't give him ten thousand dollars! He knows that..." the rising of clear droplets slipped down her olive cheeks "There has to be s-something you can do Keith, t-this is my life my other half of me..."
"I know," he paused "Just come down to the office as soon as possible, the sooner we tackle this problem the better"
She replied softly "Thank you for calling..."
Once Keith's receiver end of the phone clicked off, Zoey's hands remained ever still phone in hand, pressed to her ear. It was if her world was put on pause, her progressed effort moving forward had slapped her in the face with this illusion-being place back to where she had begun.
In another one of James's games.