The Pentrals

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack Read Free Book Online

Book: The Pentrals by Crystal Mack Read Free Book Online
Authors: Crystal Mack
much relief comes.
    Her words register on Thomas’ face. They sting, but it seems he was expecting this reaction all along, just waiting for it her to admit it. “And you want me to what—apologize for being with you? For loving you?” Despite her attack, he refuses to back down, inching closer to her. “I’m sorry, Violet, that’s not going to happen. You can blame me and blame yourself for Mary all you want but we both know that’s ridiculous.”
    Violet is crying. The resolve she held at the beginning of the conversation breaks down, and Thomas takes the opportunity to put his arms around her. She does not resist, and he holds her for a moment, stroking her hair. From my angle she looks so safe, wrapped in comfort. If anyone can help reestablish Violet’s peace, it is Thomas. But maybe I am misinterpreting the feeling, as Violet suddenly looks suffocated.
    “You can’t keep pushing me away,” Thomas whispers. And yet that’s exactly what she does.
    Violet shoves him back with all her strength, propelling him toward the door. “Stop it, Thomas! Stop! Just go! Leave me alone!” Black chalky fingerprints are left on his sweatshirt across his heart. They take one last look at each other—Violet’s cheeks splotched with tears and regret, Thomas’ face tightened to keep from crying—before he disappears down the hall.
    She stands frozen in the realization of what she has done. I want to take off, run after Thomas, and drag him back to her. Make him understand she does not know what she says. That she loves him, she needs him. It isn’t until Violet starts rummaging through her backpack and I hear the now familiar clink of the Lifts! tin that I realize I cannot do this anymore.
    We are alone, yet something is creeping into the quiet. A force pulsates inward, rapidly multiplying, flooding my thoughts. I dart my glance around, looking for the source of the pounding growing all around me, but see nothing. It is deafening, so loud that I feel the sound is everywhere including inside me, yet Violet does not react, likely far away in a Lift! haze. The room is filled with a terrible throbbing, like a heart beating red-hot. And then all at once I know what is happening.
    Fury. I feel it. Fiery, burning rage spreading to every inch of my being. Fury at Violet, for willingly dulling the emotions I so desperately want to feel. Anger at her for intentionally sabotaging a meaningful relationship when I have spent my entire life alone. Fury at her for thinking only of herself, a luxury I will never know.
    I have spent every minute of my life watching Violet, watching her grow to be a strong, beautiful Person. I never thought she would turn into this, a selfish shell of herself. I look up at her, defenses weakened in her drug-induced state, and for the first time ever, I wish I could hurt her.
    She sits above me, eyes out of focus in tiny slits, as my rage billows below her feet. When she finally moves to stand, I jut myself in the opposite direction rather than moving my black outline to follow her foot.
    Suddenly, Violet is tumbling down, headed directly toward me. Even the haze of the Lift! cannot wipe away her startled expression as she loses her battle with gravity. I brace myself for her fall.
    Her green eyes stare straight into me just before everything goes dark.

* * 8 * *
    S lowly, the world comes back into focus. I expect Violet to be lying on top of me, but she has already rolled off. Her fall must have knocked me out—unusual. Weeks of lifting have thrown me off my game.
    I try to regain my bearings when Mrs. Greenwald enters the studio. “Oh dear!” she calls out, hurrying over. “Let me help you.” I turn to look for Violet’s position, but before I can find her, the teacher is peering directly down at me. She reaches her hand out to touch where my arm would be, and oddly enough, I actually feel her weathered fingertips brush up against me. It startles me and I jerk back, but she is relentless.

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