Home > Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)

Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)
Author: L.H. Cosway

Chapter One

Outside of My Self-Imposed Box

“Dearest Nicola, I decline your invitation to accompany you in your socialising endeavours.”

“Nicky, I’m really not up to leaving these four walls right now.”

“Please, just let me continue being a hermit.”

“I will cry at the drop of a hat.”

“People scare me.”

“The pain won’t go away.”

“I can’t breathe.”

“I’m not me.”

“Look, just back off, I’m begging you.”

These are just a few among hundreds of similar sentences that have escaped my lips recently. All of them are in protest, all in fear. I haven’t left my one bedroom, first floor, somewhat grotty apartment in exactly two months, six days and approximately five hours. I like to add up the hours. I was determined to win this battle, even though it might have been healthier for me to lose.

I didn’t want to leave my box, but Nicky had been ever so persuasive. She’d said, “Oh Tegan, come on, come on, come on, you haven’t come out clubbing with us in so long!” And then she’d repeated, and repeated, and repeated her plea until I’d decided that the banality of going out to one of the garish Goth clubs I used to frequent would probably be better than subjecting myself to one more second of her whining.

I allowed her to wash my greasy hair in the sink, wax my unshaven legs and dress me in a loose electric blue dress that came to just above my knees. Then she’d insisted I wear a pair of black boots and a tight black velvet blazer.

None of what I was wearing belonged to me. I’d thrown most of my indulgent clothing out after I lost Matthew. These past few weeks I have outgrown my urge to put an effort into being subversively fashionable. I’d wanted to scrape back to basics, cleanse my life somehow. Nicky tried to manipulate my hair into a back-combed do, choking me to death with hair spray.

I drew the line at make-up. I used to be really into the whole Goth thing, but I just don’t have the energy anymore. Besides, when you’ve discovered that the one and only person you ever loved hated the life they had with you so much that they’d decided to end it all, well, that’s when everything you’d thought was important starts to seem contrived, attention seeking and pointless.

Nicky drove her red and black Volkswagen beetle around the parts of the city I’d find familiar first, her car reminded me of a ladybird. I could tell she was doing this to ease me back into the world that existed outside of my apartment. It actually helped, seeing the places that were once a part of my everyday life. But it also provoked the hole in my heart to ache as I remembered that life. I’d never ever get it back. The thought made me feel emptier than ever before.

After a half hour of driving we went to pick up Nicky’s friends. They’re supposed to be my friends too, but they all seem so far away and alien to me right now. Nicky is the only one who ever came over to see how I was doing after the initial week of grieving. I guess one week is all this modern world allows us to suffer the loss of a life.

They get into the car and seem amazed to see me, like I’m some sort of long lost relative who they’d thought was dead. Dillon hugs me and scruffs my hair, while Amanda and Susan give me more tentative cuddles and kisses on either cheek. Jesus. I suppose I can’t blame them for not visiting me more, people do have jobs and lives of their own. The world can’t stop moving just because I have become a slightly less gruesome version of the living dead.

Five minutes later we pull into the car park of some new club called Crimson. Nicky hasn’t shut up about this place for the last fortnight. It’s always, “Oh Tegan, you would not believe how much fun I had at Crimson last night,” this, and “Oh my God, you should have heard the brilliant band who played at Crimson,” that. I’m sick and tired of hearing about the place to be honest. And God, as I’m entering the club I’m already sick and tired of the décor. A whole lot of black leather, black silk, black velvet and blood red lace. It looks like the set of a kinky fetish p**n shoot. Any second now I’ll be approached by some man in a gimp mask with a whip. The mental image sends a horrible shiver down my spine.

Nicky goes up to the bar to order in the first round of drinks, while Amanda takes me by the hand and leads me to one of many booths centred around a massive dance floor. At the head of the dance floor is the DJ’s booth, where a girl with multi-coloured dreads is spinning the decks. My ears are currently being blasted with Rage Against the Machine.

Above the DJ booth are several steps leading up to a VIP section. Most of the people there are dressed in designer gear. There’s a man sitting at the head of one of the tables who seems to be attracting a lot of attention from those around him. Strangely though, he’s not really dressed for the occasion. He has on pale ripped jeans and a white crumply t-shirt. You’d think his designer clad friends would be looking down on him, but they’re all over him like a rash.

Maybe it’s his good looks that are getting him the endless attention, his golden blond locks flop over the side of his face in a very laid back, at ease with his sexuality sort of way. Beside him is one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen, and she almost looks too young to be in this place. Her hair is long, wavy and sapphire red. She’s wearing a tight silky black dress and her eyes are so startling that even though she’s a good twenty feet away from me I can still make out their emerald green colour.

My friends are chatting beside me, not bothering to include me in the conversation. I suppose they still aren’t expecting me to be my usual self just yet. Loneliness sets in and I try to blink back the tears and look away, back at the beautiful girl with the emerald eyes. A wave of shock flows through me when she turns in my direction, as if she’d sensed I was watching her. Her eyes lock with mine. The second seems to last an eternity. I quickly look away, but I notice her smile out of the corner of my eye, then she turns back to continue her conversation with the blond man.

“Are you okay Tegan?” Nicky asks, hearing my stunted breathing.

“Yeah, it’s just hard to get used to this many people.”

“I know honey, listen you let me know if it all gets too much. You’ve done so well, I’m really proud of you.”

“Thanks, but I’m fine, I need to do this.”

“Yeah,” she replies, putting an arm around me and rubbing my shoulder. “You do.”

Thank God for Nicky, I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for her support. As she strokes my hair away from my face and looks at me sympathetically with her huge brown doe eyes, I see a man standing at the bar across the way checking her out. A pity. Nicky is gorgeous, with short bleach blond hair and a curvy figure. Unfortunately she doesn’t do men. Tonight she’s wearing a faux fur leopard print coat and a black mini dress. Men have been eyeing her up since the second she walked into the club.

Susan suggests that we all get up to dance when the Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” comes on. I decline and get left minding the table. I sip on my drink and look around me, my friends attracting attention with their display on the dance floor. I’m more jittery now that I’ve been left alone, and every glance that comes my way makes me want to get up and run straight out of the club as fast as I can. It’s a weird feeling to have eyes on me after staying inside my apartment for so long.

I was the one who found him you know - Matthew. Wrists slit and in the bath, topless but wearing his favourite grey slacks. His note was all manic and crazy ramblings, his handwriting almost unreadable. I have a history of trying to fix that which is broken, and I still don’t think I’ve fully learned that people can’t be fixed, they have to fix themselves.

I tend to fall in love with men who have issues, the sort of mental health problems related to a bad childhood experience or what have you. The very first time I saw Matthew I was doomed, his entire presence screamed, I am sensitive, I have problems, but I’m also clever and have potential, if only some generous young woman could help me get past what I’m going through I could be great, I have such wasted potential. It’s like a calling. If I see a man like that I can’t help but to be drawn to him, to want to repair the damage that will always be there. It’s a hopeless mission and I’m hopeless to forever fall for it.

He had messy brown hair and the deepest black eyes that spoke a pain that could never be articulated in words. He asked me for a lighter and I asked him to play me a song on the acoustic guitar he was holding. He might have asked me for my mortal soul and I would have willingly handed it over. I can’t say no to a man like that, and now I’m paying the price. My heart feels like it’s been beaten to within an inch of its life and it aches continually. The hurting has not yet subsided and I don’t think it ever really will.

The dancing in front of me slows down when the DJ switches the Eurhythmics for Hole’s “Doll Parts”. As Courtney Love sings about aching it makes me feel a little less alone, because God knows I ache right now. All over. I wish he’d loved me enough to want to live for me. I wish he’d loved me so that our love was enough. Obviously it wasn’t.

We were together for eight months, I’d only known him three weeks before he’d moved into my apartment. Everything had moved so fast. And despite him being the one who needed help, I think I needed him more than he needed me. I need a cause that isn’t my own, because that way I can ignore the causes that are my own. I still can’t use the bath even though I’ve bleached it twenty times over. I rarely even shower. Nicky washing my hair today was the first time it’s seen water in almost two weeks. It’s pathetic really.

I down the rest of the drink Nicky gave me and make my way over to the bar for another. The bartender gives me a frustrated look as I try to get his attention and then grudgingly takes my order. I hand him a twenty and he gives me change. When I get back to the table I think that my friends have returned from the dance floor, but then I realise that it’s not them at the booth we’d been sitting in. There’s a group of guys chugging on pints of beer, and my friends’ coats and handbags have been shoved onto the floor.

I quickly run over, putting my drink down on the edge of the table and trying but failing to pick up all of our things.

“I’m sorry,” I say in a nervous voice, “but I was sitting here.”

One of them turns to me and casually remarks, “Not any more honey,” while the rest of them have a good laugh about it. I go to pick up the coats and handbags again and when I stand back up I find the girl with the red hair from the VIP section in front of me. She’s smiling at me as a cat would a mouse.

In a voice like silk, she asks, “Need some help?”

“Oh, no that’s all right,” I shrug.

But before I know it she’s turned to the men and is glaring at each and every one of them.

“I believe you are sitting in this young lady’s booth gentlemen,” she says, in a loud and confident voice.

I wince, expecting them to give her cheek just like they’d given me. But instead they come over all anxious, nodding like idiots and getting up from their seats. The red head stays until each of them has gone.

“Thanks,” I manage. “You’re very kind to do that for me.”

“No problem,” she replies, her eyes boring into mine. “You can pay me back some other time.” Then she strokes a hand down my hair and glides away into the crowded night club.

“Who was that?” asks Nicky, coming up from behind me.

“I have no idea.” I reply. “I’m going to use the bathroom. Will you mind my drink?”

“Sure, work away.”

I rush to the toilets and splash some water over my face. I tip the attendant and she gives me a lollipop which I unwrap and stick in my mouth. Instead of going back into the club I walk down a long hallway at the end of which I see a fire exit. I need some air, so I traipse my way towards it.

Outside I find myself in the back of the car park beside several large bins. I sit down on the curb and suck on the lollipop. Minutes pass by, I would have enjoyed counting them but the idea comes too late to begin. The count wouldn’t have been accurate and that would have gotten to me.

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting there motionless before I decide it’s probably time to head back inside. The door I came through has been shut. I try the handle and breathe a sigh of relief when it turns. Inside I walk straight into the red haired girl and the handsome blond man from the VIP section. They’re with some other black haired guy and standing beside an open door leading into what looks like a manager’s office.

“Why honey, we have to stop meeting like this,” the red haired girl says harshly. Her emerald eyes are startling up this close and in the better lighting.

“Sorry I – I was just getting some air,” I say, gesturing toward the fire exit.

“This part of the club is off limits,” says the black haired man, “and trespassers will be prosecuted – I mean, punished,” he continues with a laugh, unnecessarily cruel, and now I remember why I haven’t left my apartment in so long. Hell is other people.

“I didn’t know. This is my first time here.” I tell him.

“Makes no matter to us,” he says and takes a step toward me.

I glance at the blond man, he’s standing the furthest back, silent, and staring at me without emotion.

“What’s your name little girl?” asks the black haired one.

“Why do you want to know?” I ask, and subconsciously tell him to f**k right off with the little girl comment. What a creep. My eyes surreptitiously glance from left to right, searching for an escape route.

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