Quicksand
Quicksand
Author: coughs
Chapter 1

  

Jules was a having bad day.

He had stayed up all night binge-watching the last thirteen episodes of Attack on Titans. So he was asleep for the majority of his Math test. He submitted his sheet, already assured of his big fat F, and if that wasn't bad enough— he lost his phone. 

He hadn't noticed when the bulge in his pocket disappeared until just before lunch when he attempted to pull it out and check the time. Safe to say, his heart accelerated before flatlining.

That was his second phone this month. His dad was going to kill him. Yeah, right. He scoffed internally.

All he wanted was to eat his tuna in peace and go home. It turned out he couldn't even do that. Why? It was because someone was sitting on his table. The cafeteria was, thankfully, still empty, so he took five strides to reach his table. He immediately realized it was a girl. Her back was turned to him, but he could see her slender shoulders even through the hoodie she wore.

He cleared his throat loudly and saw the girl's back go rigid. When she didn't turn around, he spoke.

"That's my seat." He tried, but failed, for his voice to not sound menacing. This had been his table for the duration of five months. It hadn't been that difficult to secure it. He was Jules. That was reason enough for people to stay away, so why—

The girl in question heaved a heavy sigh, before turning slowly. Jules tried not to stare, but that was impossible.

Her hood had slipped off her head, revealing her short white, hair that ended in the middle of her neck. Her skin was pale, bright blue eyes and under those eyes— purplish, bruiselike shadows. As if she was suffering from sleepless night. The reason why he couldn't look away wasn't just because she was so devastatingly beautiful. He stared because the eyes that gazed back at him made him feel like he was just hit by a bus. It was a nasty feeling. Painful and bizarre. He hated it; her and the expression she wore told him that the feeling was mutual. Hate at first sight.

Her ruby lips tilted up, and Jules felt like a painful open wound. When he blinked, he didn't open his eyes immediately. 

He hadn't always been a sucker for pain. 

The opening of the cafeteria doors distracted him a little, and when he looked back the smile was gone.

"Excuse me?" Her voice was small, but hostility was prominent.

Jules cleared his throat again, but more awkwardly this time—so much for being menacing— "you are on my seat."

His voice didn't waver but his heart certainly did. The intensity of her gaze made him want to look away. The last thing he needed was a confrontation with a girl half his size.

She surprised him by standing up. Jules had expected her to put up a fight, so he watched in relief as she packed up her books. His relief was however short-lived because instead of leaving the table altogether. She brushed past him and took a seat at the same table, his fucking table.

She sat down in the seat opposite of the one, she had just vacated pulling out a book again. She opened it and continued reading ignoring Jules completely. 

If it were any other day, any other person, Jules would have probably let it go. But it was today and he was having a bad day. It was this girl, who wore a patronizing smile. He was sure that the reason for this smile wasn't because of the book she was reading. Quantum Physics. Instead of retreating, like he would have done normally, he snatched the book right out of her hands.

She was shocked, but then again so was he. Why did he just do that? Her eyes were wide and her mouth agape; her surprise was beginning to bother him. This girl didn't know him. For all she knew, he harassed girls on a daily basis.

Jules watched, albeit, nervously as a thought crossed her mind. Her eyes widened even farther, and she did a double take like she was suddenly seeing him for the first time. His mind went blank. Why was she looking at him like that? He stood there, and shock was still enraptured in her gaze. A hand landed on his shoulder snapping them both out of it.

"What's going on here?" David Bentley asked. Jules shrugged his hand off, just as the girl stood. She snatched her book from his hand and took off. Jules watched her exit the cafeteria without looking back.

━━━━━

Venus Chambers. That was her name.

The first person he asked was the right person to ask. "Venus Chambers," David Bentley said, "she's my sister."

Jules froze. Sister? The Bentley clan were all boys. He was sure he would have noticed a girl suddenly appearing, and not because he and David used to be best friends. It was because Venus was a girl you noticed.

"My stepsister," David continued, "my dad got remarried last summer. They moved all the way from New Jersey. Today is her first day."

Venus. Venus. Venus.

The girl with the pale hair, paler skin and red lips. Venus from New Jersey. Venus the stepsister.

"That's it?" Jules hadn't realized that he had been walking away until David stopped him. "You don't talk to me, for who knows how long, and then you ask about my sister and walk away?"

Jules tried to shrug David's hand off his shoulder, but this time it didn't budge. He cocked his head to the side, "What do you want me to say? That I want to be friends? I want to join the team again? I want to live?" The last word made David flinch and his hand fell away.

Jules turned away, but this time David didn't stop him, "Tell your sister to stay away from my table."

There was no one home when he arrived, but that wasn't new. Since the death of his mother, his father liked to play hide and seek. Jules hated that game. He was tired of always being the seeker. 

Sometimes he wanted to hide too.

"I'm home," he said to the empty house, pulling off his shoes and leaving the door unlocked. He warmed up some spam and ate it in his room with the lights off. Sometimes he liked to play pretend. He'd pretend he was blind and flail his arms around his room looking for a book, his duvet or his harmonica.

Today, however, with the lights off and curtains closed. Shrouded by complete darkness, he could see.

He saw Venus Chambers.

The girl with the pale hair, paler skin and red lips.

Venus from New Jersey. Venus the stepsister.

She was looking at him. Almost as if she was saying, 'are you alive or just existing?'

He closed his eyes to get rid the image of Venus, but even with his eyes closed— he could still see her. Engraved on the inside of his eyelids. He buried his face in his pillow and something fell off his bed. 

The sound echoed in his empty house, empty room and empty heart.

He buried his face deeper into the pillow, hoping it would suddenly grow hands to hold him and suffocate him.

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