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Welcome to HELL WEEK y'all. Here is the third of my SIX entries for the week laid upon the altar of the mighty Idol gods. As always, may they be exceedingly kind and generous...





“You should totally cut his pecker off.”

My friend Abby was a bit eccentric and never one to mince words.

“Seriously,” she continued. “Get him drunk and when he passes out, cut it off and send it to his new tramp.”

I laughed in spite of myself. Where my best friend and roommate Carla was my rock and sounding board for reason, Abby was always able to make me laugh with her dark yet infectious humor. Working in the campus bookstore together, we’d become fast friends and she was a trusted confidant. The light was dim and the air was cool in the storeroom where we were slowly cataloging the inventory, preparing a shipment to send back to the main warehouse.

“I just miss how things used to be, you know?”

Matt and I had started dating as sophomores in high school. We’d spent countless nights talking about our future together, planning it. He was everything I’d ever wanted in another person and he made me happier than anything else in my life ever had. But once we’d gotten to college, he started to change. Gone was the kind, sweet boy I’d fallen in love with. The one who would bring me flowers for no reason and say the sweetest things at the most random times. He became arrogant and condescending. He started to ridicule and belittle me. Often in public. And I found out that he’d cheated on me a number of times. I’ve never felt smaller before in my life.

Abby nodded but remained focused on recording the SKU numbers correction. She was nothing, if not diligent about her work. Which would explain why she was on every single academic honor roll on campus.

“If you want my honest opinion,” she started without looking at me. “And even if you don’t, I’m going to give it to you anyway. I think you’re sort of creating a fantasy in your head about it all. Maybe things were good. Maybe they were great even. But it was probably never the Ozzie and Harriet, white picket fence sort of world you’re making it seem to be in your head. Nobody is that perfect.”

I looked down at the clipboard in my hand and said nothing. Abby took my hand and looked me in the eyes. The compassion and sympathy I saw on Abby’s face brought tears to my eyes.
“We all do that though. It’s natural,” Abby said. “It’s easier for us to look back and see the good stuff while we gloss over the stuff that wasn’t so good. I know I’m guilty of it.”
I wiped away the tears as Abby took the clipboard from my hands and set it on a stack of books.

“Come on,” she said. “Let’s take a break.”

The night was dark and cool. A soft wind rustled through the tops of the trees making a dry scratchy sound. Abby leaned against the brick building and lit a cigarette, the bluish smoke drifting away on the evening breeze. I opened my bottle of water and took a drink, looking up at the few stars that were visible.

“You still love him that much, huh?” Abby asked as she took a drag from her cigarette.

I nodded. “I miss him. I’ve tried shutting it off,” I said quietly. “It just doesn’t work. Every time I see him, my heart breaks all over again.”

“If you could have him back right now, just as he is,” Abby said, looking me in the eye. “Would you really want him?”

It took me less than a second to answer. “Yes.”

A sadness crept into her eyes as she nodded. “Okay, let me see what I can do.”


*******



I sat at a table in the campus pub a few days later. It was early so the crush of bodies that filled the place every night hadn’t made their way in just yet. The pub was always busy but Friday nights were especially hectic. I sipped the glass of cider I’d ordered while I waited. A few minutes later, Abby slid into the seat across from me and downed half of the beer I’d ordered for her in a single swallow.

“That hits the spot,” she said.

I smiled and hoped that I’d be able to head back to my dorm soon. I wasn’t feeling very social and really didn’t want to be here when the frat boys started showing up.
“So,” Abby started. “I talked to a special friend of mine and I have something for you.”

“What is it?”

Abby took another sip off her bottle and set it back down. She looked at me, her expression serious.

“Before I give it to you,” she said. “Do you remember what I asked you the other night?”
I nodded, curious.

“And you’re still sure?”

I nodded again.

“Okay,” she said. “Personally, I think you deserve better but maybe this is what you need to help you work it out.”

Abby reached into her bag and came out with a small dark-colored vial. She handed it over to me and I felt the liquid sloshing around inside.

“What is it,” I asked as I started to remove the cap.

“Don’t,” she said quickly. “Leave the lid on until it’s ready to be used. And don’t take any of it yourself.”

I set it down on the table in front of me and looked at it. Concern began to creep into the back of my mind. What was Abby up to?

“This isn’t like poison or something is it?” I whispered.

She laughed and clapped her hands together.

“Give me a break,” she said. “I love you but do you really think I’d go to prison for you?”

I felt the heat rise in my cheeks, feeling foolish. Abby finished off her beer and waved at the waitress for another.

“So what is it then?”

“It’s a love potion.”

“Seriously?” I was annoyed that she’d decided to make a joke of it all.

“My friend swears up and down that this will work,” Abby said. “And judging by the things I’ve seen her do, I believe it.”

“What is she, a witch?” I asked, irritation in my voice.

“Something like that.” Abby said. “Look, you slip this into his drink and see what happens. Worst case scenario, nothing happens and it costs you nothing.”

“And if it does work, he comes rushing back to me to declare his undying love, huh?”

Abby nodded, waiting for the waitress to leave after dropping off her beer. “And you owe my friend fifty bucks.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “This is ridiculous,” I said. “You know that, right?”

She shrugged. “Maybe so. But let’s find out.”



For the next hour, we sat and drank as we talked. My head was starting to spin and I knew that studying was out of the question for the night. As we sat, the evening crowd began filtering in. It wasn’t long before the pub was filled mostly with frat boys and sorority girls, all loud and obnoxious. My breath caught in my throat when Matt walked in. His girlfriend trailed a few feet behind him, texting away on her phone. She was blonde, big-breasted and looked incredibly cheap. But maybe I was a little biased. My heart thumped painfully against my ribs and I felt like I wanted to cry. He saw me sitting at the table and gave me a smirk as he walked past.

“Yeah, he just exudes Eau de Asshole,” Abby said and rolled her eyes. “I can see why you want him back so bad.”

I finished off the cider in my glass and set it back down on the table. “I have to get out of here.”

“Hey, hey, hey,” Abby said. “Hold your horses for a minute. Let’s see if my friend’s little potion works first.”

“And how exactly are we going to manage that?”

Abby looked around and then back at me, a glint of mischief in her eyes. She grabbed the bottle, gave me a wink and without a word, got up and walked over to the bar. She took a drink from the bottle of beer the bartender had given her and then using her back as a shield, poured the contents of the vial into the bottle. Abby looked over at her as she swirled the bottle around and flashed me a smile before walking over to where Matt was standing. I watched Abby lean against the bar and hand him the beer as she talked to him. The conversation went on for a few minutes, Abby putting on quite the show of laughing at his jokes and flirting with him. Matt’s girlfriend stood off to the side, pouting and glowering at Abby which made me laugh. Pulling out a piece of paper and a pen, Abby wrote something down on a piece of paper, handed it to Matt and sauntered off. A very heated and animated conversation with his girlfriend followed in Abby’s wake.

Abby headed for the door and gave me the “come on” tilt of her head. I finished my cider and followed her out the front door.

“Did you give him your number?” I laughed when I’d caught up with Abby.

“I gave him the number to the local sperm bank,” she said. “Memorizing that number was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

“You are a genius.”

“Yes I am.”

“So I guess we’ll see if I owe your friend fifty bucks or not, huh?”

Abby nodded. “You better have been sure, that’s all I can say.”

Fog, thick and dense rolled in making what was usually a pleasant walk back to the dorms somehow foreboding and creepy.


*******



It was just after six the following morning and I was sitting in bed looking at my phone like it was a snake ready to bite me. It was the fourth time he’d called in the last hour.

“Will you answer that damn thing,” Carla grumbled. “Your ringtone is annoying as hell and I’m trying to sleep.”

“Sorry,” Anna whispered.

Carla rolled over and clamped a pillow over her head. I looked at the name on the display screen again and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Matt. Looking over at Carla again, I got out of bed and hurried into the bathroom. Quietly closing the door behind me, I answered.

“Matt, it’s six in the morning on a Saturday morning!”

“I’m sorry baby,” he said. “I just had this feeling like I needed to talk to you as soon as I could.”

Just the sound of his voice was enough to make my heart flutter and sent off the butterflies in my stomach. A tear rolled down my cheek.

“There’s some things I want to explain,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied. “What?”

“I’d rather not do it over the phone,” he said, his voice sweet and reassuring. “Can I see you in person?”

Hope bloomed in my chest. Had the love potion Abby’s friend put together really worked? Was my Matt, the boy I’d fallen in love with really coming back to me?

“Okay when?

“Ten minutes?”

“Matt, it’s six in the morning.”

“I know, I know,” he said. “I just don’t think I can wait. I want… no, I need to see you, Anna. Please?”

I bit my lip and thought about it for a second.

“Twenty minutes,” I finally said.

“Great. Twenty minutes,” he almost shouted. “At the coffee house?”

“I’ll see you there.”

“Oh and Anna?” He said. “It’s so great to hear your voice again. I've missed you.”

I hung up and my heart beat against my chest like a bird trapped in a box.


*******


Matt was standing outside of the closed coffee house pacing. He wore the same clothes I saw him in the night before. He looked wired and like he hadn’t slept. From a distance, he looked like he was on something.

“Babe,” he waved and sprinted over to me, crushing me in a full body hug. “I’m so happy to see you.”

I disentangled myself from his embrace, my mind and emotions swirling a million miles an hour.

“Wait, Matt,” I said. “I can’t just jump back into it so easily. You really hurt me.”

He looked hurt that I’d pulled away but quickly recovered.

“I know, sweetheart,” he said. “And I’m sorry. You’ll never know how sorry I am. I want to spend the rest of my life making that up to you.”

My mind and my heart were at war with each other. I wanted to believe him, give in to him again. But something was holding me back. Something was whispering in the back of my mind. I wanted to tune it out, to ignore it. I wanted to have Matt hold me and tell me it was going to be okay. But I couldn’t. Not yet.

“Anna please,” he said. “I really am sorry for everything. You have to believe me. I never meant to hurt you.”

“Then why did you?”

He shrugged and looked at the ground, shuffling his feet. “I just got caught up in the whole college and fraternity thing,” he said. “I know I was an asshole to you and I’m sorry, Anna.”
I had to hold back the tears that threatened to spill down my cheeks. I’d wanted to hear these words from him for so long now.

“What about your girlfriend?”

“I broke it off with her last night,” he said. “When I saw you in the pub, I realized that I wanted to be with you. Nobody but you. Ever again.”

I wanted to believe him so desperately. He looked and sounded sincere but still, something held me back.

“Abby and Carla both say I should just move on,” she said. “That you don’t deserve me.”

Matt nodded. “They’re probably right,” he said. “I don’t deserve you right now. But I’ll do whatever it takes to make it up to you, Anna. I swear it.”

My head spun and my heart lurched. I felt drunk.

“I don’t know, Matt,” I said. “I need to think.”

I turned and started to walk away but he stepped in my path, gripping both of my arms. I looked into his face and saw a wild desperation in his eyes that scared me.

“Matt don’t,” I said. “You’re hurting me.”

“Don’t listen to them, Anna,” he said. “They just want to keep us apart. We belong together. We always have.”

I struggled to free myself from his grip but he only tightened it. I finally wrenched free and took a few steps away from him.

“I need to think, Matt,” I said. “I just need to think.”

I turned and ran back to my dorm room.

*******


It had been more than a week since I’d met with Matt in front of the coffee house. I found flowers outside of my door every single day and though I did my best to avoid him, he continually turned up everywhere I went. Every time we spoke, I could see that the desperation, the obsession in him to win me back was growing wilder and more frantic. The look in his eyes sent chills through me.

I thought about it a lot and came to the realization that everything he’d said that morning was everything I’d wanted to hear. And though I’d desperately wanted to believe it, every last word of it and take Matt back into my life, I couldn’t. What he’d said, the emotion he’d poured out to me wasn’t genuine and it wasn’t sincere. It was the potion Abby’s friend had concocted. I couldn’t believe it worked but it apparently had. Matt was simply telling me whatever it was he thought would get him back in the door and I knew that things could never be the same again. And I realized that I didn’t want them if they couldn’t be.

I walked through the quad with Carla and Abby. Classes were done for the day and we’d decided to go catch a movie. As we headed for the parking lot, Matt stepped out from behind a tree.

“Anna,” he said, shooting a glance at the girls. “Can we go somewhere and talk?”

His hair was mussed and he looked like he hadn’t showered or shaved in a week. There was something feral and wild about him.

“We’re on our way out to a movie,” I said. “Maybe some other time, Matt.”

He stepped closer to me. “Why are you being like this? Is it because of these bitches?”

Abby stepped between Matt and I, put her hands on his chest and pushed him backward.

“Who are you calling bitches, asshole?”

“I swear to God,” he said. “You had better get your ass out of the way and let me talk to Anna.”

“Or you’ll what?” Abby asked.

“She obviously doesn’t want to talk to you,” Carla chimed in.

I felt the heat rising in my cheeks as people walking by openly gawked at us.

“Anna,” he called over Abby’s shoulder. “Don’t let these bitches come between us. We belong together. You know that.”

Carla pulled out her phone and dialed. “Matt, you had best take your ass out of here. I’m calling campus security.”

In a flash of movement, Matt shouldered by Abby, smacked the phone out of Carla’s hand and seized me by the arms.

“Let’s get out of here, Anna,” he said. “Let’s go to Europe like we’d always talked about.”

Carla’s hand came flying in seemingly out of nowhere and smacked Matt across the face. He looked stunned for a moment before a mask of rage took over. He snarled and raised his fist, intending to punch Carla. I stood wide-eyed as Abby screamed and grabbed his arm, trying prevent him from swinging.

“Dude,” one of Matt’s frat brothers stepped in and stood nose to nose with him. “You’re not really going to punch her are you?”

As if coming out of a stupor, Matt shook his head. He looked around, confused.

“C’mon bro, let’s get you back to the house.”

His friend began herding him away. Matt looked over at me again.

“We belong together, Anna,” he said. “Don’t let anybody, least of all these dyke bitches come between us!”


*******



It had been a little more than a week since the incident in the quad. I hadn’t seen or heard from Matt which I took as a good sign. Abby told me her friend said that the potion would eventually run its course and its effects would dissipate. I was ready for everything to go back to normal again. I texted Abby and Carla to see if they wanted to study tonight but hadn’t heard back from them yet so I figured I’d get in some studying on my own before I met up with them.

I stopped by the coffee house and grabbed a drink, needing a caffeine infusion before studying for my microbiology mid-term. I walked into the building and up the stairs, walking down the long empty hall to my room. Juggling my drink, books and keys, I managed to unlock the door and step inside feeling good again for the first time in a while. I smiled when I saw the large box next to Carla’s bed. Obviously her mom had sent another care package which meant we’d be sharing some homemade cookies later tonight.

A surge of fear and adrenaline shot through my body when the door slammed behind me. I dropped my cup and it hit the floor with a splash, spilling coffee all over my shoes. Matt casually locked the door and pressed his body close to mine.

“I told you they couldn’t keep us apart.”

I backed up, my legs eventually connecting with my bed. I was out of room. For the first time, I looked at him. His hair was wilder than ever, his eyes even more so and the wicked, predatory smile on his face set my heart beating hard enough to crack my ribs. But it was the blood all over his shirt that held my attention. He was soaked in it.

“M-Matt,” I said. “What happened.”

“We’re going to be together forever, Anna,” he said, his voice completely emotionless. “I wasn’t going to let them come between us.”

He motioned to the box next to Carla’s bed. I looked down and tried to scream only to find that I had no voice.

Sitting inside the blood soaked box were Abby and Carla’s heads, their lifeless eyes staring straight at me.

“It’s just you and me now, Anna.”


This has been my entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol Season 8, Topic 36(C): Nostalgic. We're down the Final 8 left standing and things are getting intense! As always, thank you so much for stopping by to give me a read and thank you for all of your support over the course of this season. It really does mean the world to me and I know that I wouldn't be here without you guys. Should we have a poll this week, don't forget to stop on by, read some of the other fantastic pieces and spread some voting-love around! THANK YOU EVERYBODY!

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October 2012

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