Counting Stars // One Republic
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TUESDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 
Chanel launches some new make up at the Rue de Cambon 31. You can go to the exclusive party to test it and drink lots of champagne
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Ophelia 'Lia' du Toit

If you looked in a dictionary, the following story might as well have been next to the word 'lame'. I'm not very happy, especially with the whole Sage-thing part, but I'll need it for future reference, so here it is.
___
“Um... I’m sorry. I have to take this”, Yekaterina said and bit her lip. I wondered who could be calling such an hour. Maybe it was a secret boyfriend of hers she hadn’t told us about, or a twin sister whose existence we were spared from acknowledging, or something else she had, for some reason, decided to desperately conceal. I was sure that Katya kept many things to herself – almost everything, really – but I couldn’t possibly blame her for this. I didn’t really mind. Everyone kept secrets, and everyone else did their utmost to find each other’s out. It was like a vicious cycle. Maybe she was smarter than everyone else, minding her own business. It sort of forced everyone to keep their nose out of her private affairs, and God knew she had many of them.

The only thing that made me cringe was the fact that we knew nothing about her. I don’t mean the typical identification information: name, age, place of origin. I mean: what is her favorite color? What are her future ambitions? How does she get along with her family? Now that I thought about it, she’d never even made the slightest mention of her family… as if she was deliberately avoiding it. But again, maybe she had and it was just my impression and I was having this inner conflict for no apparent reason at all. I tended to do this an awful lot, lately.

I watched Yekaterina carefully as she spoke mad-quick Russian, practically ignoring the others’ conversation. I didn’t know if the feeling was mutual, but I considered Katya my best friend around here. I was probably just overreacting. Okay, she was a bit secretive, but what’s wrong with that? She was my friend. We danced together, we gambled together, we drank together, and we had each other’s backs. This thought was enough to console me and remind me that I had more serious things to consider than Katya having secrets.
And those things were deadly serious.

I felt sweat dripping down my back just with the mere thought of it. Tomorrow, I’d have to face Nathan once again and tell him I /still/ couldn’t give him the money back. I shouldn’t even be here, trying out cosmetics. I should be trying to collect any last penny I could. Perhaps he would accept a deal. I could give him half now, and half later. My mind started drifting, thinking of possible solutions, calculating sums, preparing answers to his potential taunting.

“What do you think of this, Lia?”, Mary asked me, shaking me off from my train of thoughts. She was applying a vibrant, red lipstick, which made her look like the utmost femme fatale.
“Mon Dieu, it’s great! It has transformed your whole face!”, I said excitedly, but she narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “…In a good way”, I added quickly. I guessed the whole subject with Noah had somehow managed to widen the chasm between us instead of narrowing it. However cliché it may sound, I’d told her so, and she’d refused to listen. It wasn’t my fault things went wrong. You see, I’d love to play psychologist, but I wasn’t up for make-believe situations. 
I could tell Mary was trying to make conversation, but before she could open her mouth, I turned around and approached the counter with the skincare products, where Naomi was standing. I heard Ree sighing behind of me. Perhaps she could realize the gap between us as well. I hoped she was willing to fix it, because I wholeheartedly was. She could be such a good friend when she wanted to.

Naomi grabbed a small bottle of concealer and carefully applied a Lilliputian amount on her palm. 
“Need any help?”, I asked, pretending to be interested in Chanel’s new ‘Ultra Correction Lift’.
“No, thanks”, she replied nonchalantly, without even looking at me. Though not queen, Naomi’s aristocratic attitude was still here to stay.
Disappointed, I swung about, ready to leave. It was clear she didn’t consider me welcome.
“Hey, Ophelia”, she said before I could leave. “Wait”.
So I did as told. I waited.
“Thank you for the other day. It was very kind of you… and sort of unforeseeable, if you’d like to know. But thank you, regardless”. She then turned her face to me and offered me the first honest smile I’d even seen worn by her. I immediately felt bad for regarding her as a b.itchy Queen Bee all this time. She /did/ have a good side deep inside, but she was just extremely picky as far as who was allowed to see it. Maybe she thought it made her look vulnerable – and indeed, back on Saturday she’d found herself in a rather sticky situation – but in my eyes, it only made her look more… human. 
“Don’t think about it”, I answered modestly, but I was secretly very happy to be one of the privileged people to witness one rare demonstration of Naomi’s legendary good side.
___
My Blackberry vibrated violently on the bed, causing the whole mattress to throb, as if it was challenging me to pick it up. 
/Not again/, I thought desperately. My mother was incorrigible. She had called me about five times today, asking how I was doing, telling me that pink lipstick compliments my complexion, trying to find out whether I was dating someone. As if I’d ever tell her. Clingy people just weren’t my thing, regardless of blood relation.

I lazily reached for it, putting my MacBook away and practicing my characteristic “lazy stunts”. Sorry, couldn’t help it.
“Allô?”, I answered, although I already knew who was behind the phone.
“Hey, Ophelia?”, a male voice echoed instead. 
Wait a minute.
I knew that voice.
It was Sage!
“Sage, is that you?”
He started saying something, but his words came through jumbled and confused.
And that was when it dawned on me.
“Sage, are you drunk?”
“I-I don’t know, am I?”, he replied casually and burst into a bit of an unhinged laughter. 
Yep, he was definitely buzzed.
“Where are you?”
“Hang on”, he said. I heard him asking someone about the name of the place – possibly the barman. “They say it’s some place called –”, he paused to hiccup. “ – ‘Bleu’, or something. Isn’t that a funny name?”. There came the guffawing again. I had to take him out of there.
“Don’t move, I’m coming”, I shouted, unsure why, while quickly slipping into my black, suede heels.
“That’s what she said!”
“Not to you, obviously”. I sighed loudly. I secretly wished that failed innuendos were just a side-effect of drunkenness, because otherwise this meant that Sage was hanging out too much with Miguel. He most certainly was a bad influence.
“Just… don’t go anywhere”, I muttered and hang up. 
___
I practically rushed into the bar, only to find out that it was nearly empty. ‘Bleu’ was located in Montmartre, a district almost exclusively occupied by the badly-off, popular masses. The barman looked like an outlaw motorcycle biker who had sprung right from the 70s. I tentatively walked towards him, while he was carelessly cleaning some glasses that looked like they hadn’t been cleaned since the first coming of Jesus Christ. The “clean” ones were obviously still dirty.
“Pardon, sir. Have you seen a boy, uh, blond, around twenty, uh, hitting it up?”
The barman lifted his head and faced me. He seemed indifferent, but definitely not dangerous. My muscles slowly relaxed.
“Yeah, I’ve seen him”, he said in broken English. “He just left”.
I waited for a couple of seconds, hoping to learn more, but the barman merely resumed his work. “Do you know where he went?”
“He left from the back door, that’s all I know. Be careful, mademoiselle. He seemed a little drunk”.
/A little?/, I thought. If only I were as lucky.
___
“For /goodness’/ sake, what are you doing here?”, I asked as I approached him, but Sage didn’t seem to listen. Or care, whatsoever. He scraped a bit of dust off the ground with his shoe. 
Walking around Montmartre was dangerous, let alone during nighttime. But, of course, of /all/ places he could go and have a private discussion with himself or whatever he thought he was doing, Sage chose the darkest and most secluded alley in Paris. Excellent. Just… excellent. Previously, as I was crossing the road, I’d already started spotting potential rapists. If I didn’t know him, I’d say Sage was one of them just by looking at his condition. Admittedly, he gave every indication of being a junkie. 
“Stand up, we’re going home”, I ordered, offering my hand, but he shoved it.
“Go away, Ophelia”. His tone was calm and collected, but I could tell it was a façade. In reality, he was a time bomb, ready to explode.
“I’m not going anywhere, Sage”, I replied, a bit annoyed. “Don’t act like a child. Stand. Up”.
He stubbornly ignored me, and instead focused his gaze at the dirty wall in front of him. 
I was starting to lose my patience. “For God’s sake, stand up! Now!”, I shouted demandingly.
And that was it.
The trigger, which marked the explosion.
“I SAID, GO AWAY!”, he yelled furiously, a dark, almost frightening expression spreading across his face.
I took a step back, scared by his sudden change of attitude. “I was just trying to help –”
“ I don’t WANT your help! 
“I-I don’t… I don’t understand”.
“You know what? It’s fine by me”, he said, his volume finally lowering. “I mean, why would anyone choose /me/ over Miguel? He’s attractive, outgoing, and he can actually talk to girls without having to get himself drunk first. I get it”.
“I didn’t – ”
“Shut up, Ophelia. Let me finish”. The aggression of his voice made me flinch. “What I don’t get is, why did you let me think you liked me? Why did you let me think I ever had a chance with you?”
Because he /did/ have a chance with me. He still had.
“I thought I could forget about her and move on. I thought I’d get a second chance. /You/ were my second chance, Lia. And I screwed you over”.
He paused abruptly. I desperately tried to think of an excuse, an apology, but for some reason nothing seemed to cover the situation. Was he talking about Jacki, or just some other past girlfriend?
“It’s not like I’m blaming you. If I were you, I wouldn’t even turn to look at me” he went on, his eyes still set in a rigid, glassy stare. I hesitantly hunkered down next to him. 
He didn’t appear to notice. “I’m a complete nothing. Just a piece of sh*t lying around. Of /course/ you would choose him over me. Everyone in their right mind would. Because I’m just a damn piece of sh*t”. He said, mainly to himself, and let out a faint chuckle.
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know even if there was anything to say. I felt my heart sinking and darkening and shrinking into a tight, black ball of entirely scattered and mixed feelings. I hated myself for causing this to him, and I also hated him for not pulling himself together. 
“Sage…”. I let myself lean towards him, resting my head upon his shoulder.
“Don’t touch me, Ophelia”, he warned me quietly, but I didn’t move. I inhaled and exhaled. I sensed him synchronizing his breath with mine.
“Don’t touch me!”, he suddenly yelled and roughly pushed me off his shoulder. “What is it that you don’t understand? I’m /dangerous/ for you!”
Oh, gosh. This whole situation was so pathetic that it reminded me of Twilight. “Don’t be ridiculous. Why would you be – ”
I hadn’t noticed that tears had been running down his cheeks until I detected that his eyes were red and puffy. “Because I /killed/ her, damn it! I KILLED her!”
Killed?
Oh, no. 
He was just drunk and he didn’t know what he was saying.
Sage couldn’t hurt a fly, let alone actually kill someone.
Haha, nice one, Sage.
 “Wh-What are you talking about?”.
“I-I killed…”. I felt him softening, breaking, as if he was ready to burst into tears again. “I killed her”. His voice was just a broken whisper now.
“Who did you kill, Sage?”. I desperately tried to control my panic. A part of me still refused to believe him, but seeing him like this could only indicate truth. He was a nervous rack.
He gulped loudly. “The less you know, the better. Go away, Lia. Just… go away”.
And while my conscience stubbornly commanded me to stay where I was, comfort him, get him home and make him a cup of coffee, my feet rejected its orders. I responsively rushed to the other side of the road, searching for my phone. I was suddenly afraid – terrified – of him. Not him, actually, but the person he could be. Not the sweet, lovingly awkward Sage I was used to, but his dark alter ego, the one who was capable of the most sinister things. And, deep inside, I knew this face of Sage also existed. And I knew that there was a reason why he was pushing me away.
I just had to find it out.
But not tonight.

___
Included: @castiles // @leboutonderose // @daisie-xo
___
Tag list: @leboutonderose // @expiredsunshine // @this-little-babydoll // @dustofthestar // @golnesaxox // @daisie-xo // @tennisgirl2696 // @cate-in-the-sky // @castiles // @dior-love // @maddykur // @followyourbliss // @glittercupcake // @and-itsrachaelmichelle // @welcomeaddiction // @clairedear // @funbunbun // @catherinethegreat // @greenteawildroses // @gossip-net //

xx
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8 comments

vexful
Wrote three years ago
@marissamaisa *blushes* lolz imagine I haven't even roared yet ;)

marissamaisa
Wrote three years ago
Girl stop being on my level so much your scaring me ;P

vexful
Wrote three years ago
@and-itsrachaelmichelle Thank you so much hahaha :D

and-itsrachaelmichelle
Wrote three years ago
Whoaaa.......... D:
 
"while he was carelessly cleaning some glasses that looked like they hadn’t been cleaned since the first coming of Jesus Christ" omg you are amazingly witty
 
Don't give up on him! If I were you I would do all I could to find out what he meant.
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