Authors: Lila Felix
Love and Skate
Copyright @Lila Felix 2012
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To my husband, from whom all of my male characters stem.
To my friends, who never fail to amaze me with their support.
Mandy A., Amanda C., Annie H., Melinda S. and Rachel H.
I am so tired - so tired.
I see too many people,
Read too many books.
Do too many things.
I hate the theaters,
I hate my work,
I want you, - only you....
Come to me between the cool sheets
And let me burrow my head in your shoulder....
~Pauline Cohn, "Rest"
I never wanted to leave this icy heaven. I sat in the tub,
filled to the brim with chunks upon chunks of ice
, until I could feel the aspirins take effect. As I could feel my head start to get cloudy and the pa
subside; I lifted my body out of the tub. I sat up first and waited to get my bearings. Then I pushed up with my hands bracing the sides and made one last ditch effort to get out without my face and the cold tile floor having an intimate collision. I flicked the drain
plug out and got a towel. The numbness the i
ce so graciously afforded me now dwindled
Still in my towel
I walked on the balls of my feet into my bedroom. I knew that if I even tried to walk on my whole foot the results would be excruciating. I grabbed some shorts and a tank top and underwear and sat on the edge of the bed. It took me a good ten minutes to pull it all on. I pulled back the cover and crawled into my heaven of a bed and tried unsuccessfully to
find a position that gave me some comfort. Finally finding an awkward position that lulled me, I fell into a deep healing sleep.
My phone was playing Cherry Bomb and I swiped the green button to answer it without even looking to see who it was.
“Nellie Michelle, it’s your mother.” The voice said.
“Hello, mother.” I groaned as I turned over and my bruises and sore muscles protested against it.
“It’s almost ten o’clock. Please tell me you are not sleeping still.”
I was sleeping. I got in late.”
It’s not like she paid my bills.
“Ugh, from that barbaric skating—
you do, I assume.”
“It’s called Roller Derby and did you want something?”
By this time I had made it to the small kitchen and held the phone against my shoulder as I
started the small coffee pot and the smell alone
perked my brain up.
She rattled off something about going to a baby shower later that day for Cassandra, a girl that used to call herself my friend. But that was when I was the Nellie they wanted me to be. Cassandra knew me when I was the stooge, the model of exterior perfection, the daughter of their dreams—the puppet.
That was also the period of time that Corey dumped me for Cassandra claiming that I was too nice for a guy like him. No
w they were married and having
I just let her run through her paces as I fixed myself a cup of strong coffee with cream and took out the makings of a recovery breakfast. My first swig of coffee chased two more aspirins, making sure the soreness was kept at bay.
“Are you listening to me Nellie? Are you coming to Cassandra’s shower or not?”
“No, Mom, I’m not. I have studying to do today and I have to work the evening shift at the bookstore.”
“I guess I’ll have to make your regular excuses. I’ll put both of our names on the gift.”
“OK, Mom, you do that.”
“Nellie, when are you going to straighten up?”
“Never Mom, never.” With that lovely departing message I hung up and started making breakfast for myself and Amber, my roommate, my teammate and my
e table was stacked with food
when Amber entered the kitchen with groans and stomps. If I didn’t know better, I would think a zombie was in our apartment. I held both hands out, one with aspirins and one with coffee.
I could kiss you H
I found it funny how everyone called me Hellie. My Derby name was Hellie Nellie, but everyone called me that on a regular basis now.
She choked down the aspirin and coffee and nearly broke the chair plopping down in it.
Eat; I know you have to go to work at noon—lazy.” I goaded her.
“Lazy? I wasn’t lazy last night when I saved your skinny ass from that Amazon woman blocker.”
I laughed and the jostling motion caused my lower back to hurt on the left side. I
hissed through my teeth
lifted my tank top to look, but couldn’t see all the way in the back.
“Look and see if I’m bruised.” I walked around the table and showed Amber my back.
Damn that is one
wicked purple and black mess. Looks like the bottom of a pair of skates.”
“Yeah well, we still wiped the rink with them.”
“So true. I’ll clean up. Then I have to go to work. See you later?”
“Yeah, I’m hitting the library to study and then I have work too.”
“Ok, see ya.”
I went into my bedroom and picked out a pair of
worn out jeans and a purple
tank top with the words “Derby Girl” bleached out on the front. I bent over in the closet to get some flip flops and my new battle wound reared her ugly head.
I took a hot shower and got dressed and went to fix my hair. This month it was blue. Like
blue raspberry frozen
threw up on me and
I loved it. Thankfully I worked at a local indie bookstore and there weren’t many rules about hair color and dress codes. I threw it up in a messy, sloppy bun, grabbed my bag and went to study.
I had been up since the break of dawn and not
by choice, but force. I swore that if Dylan’s snoring didn’t stop
or at least let up the coroner
would be finding pillow down in his throat. ‘Cause I was gonna smother him.
I scrubbed my face with my hands and decided not to even try to sleep any more. I needed to either get another roommate or move to another dorm. This endless no sleeping crap really chafed my ass.
But then again, Dylan was my best friend since grade school…rock and a hard place.
I pulled on some cargo shorts and a long sleeve white shirt and picked up a pair of socks and some shoes, grabbed my backpack and headed out. I needed coffee and I needed it quick.
I walked to the student parking lot and got into my old Ford Bronco and headed out to
the local dive to
After heaps of strong black coffee and a huge stack of pancakes, I headed to the library to study and
found a table buried behind the law books that were dusty and rarely used.
The table had etchings of people who were here or who loved each other. I chuckled to myself because it wasn’t so long ago that I would’ve been one of those carvers.
I can remember sitting in the back of my high school library with Amy hanging on my left arm while my right hand so stupidly cut our names into the wood of the table
with a pocket knife
. Her phone went off while I finished the ‘y’ in her name and she turned abruptly from her place on my arm and feigned some best friend emergency. Funny thing was Amy didn
’t have a best friend, but I had two and one of them
she was screwing behind my back.
Shortly after I found out
went down a dark and dirty path and it went on for nearly a year.
girl that I thought I l
oved was with my best friend Lucas
I got tattoos, and lots of them. I loved my tattoos but most of them were just for the shock factor they gave my parents and my ex-friends. I came home late when I came in at all. I let my grades fall so far that I almost didn’t graduate and got into college by the skin of my teeth.
I partied hard
until one day I was driving and as I
my cigarette I wrapped the front of my truck around an oak the size of the highway. I came out
with cuts and bruises and a new
resolve. I needed self control. I needed discipline.
I needed to change.
And that’s what I did.
But for some things it was too late. My parents were divorcing now. They said they had been having trouble but I knew better. The stress of dealing with my crap was eating them alive. I knew no man who loved someone as much as my dad loved my mom but he packed his bags and left—because of me.
Now I stayed on the straight and narrow and I mostly wore long sleeves to hide my tattoos. Everyone, and especially girls, judged the hell out of people for their ink. And the last thing I needed was judgment.
I shook my head of thoughts of the past and got my Biology book out.
Last semester’s Biology class had been a breeze, but
Biology 212 was kicking my ass
. But, I guess if I wa
s going to be a marine biologist
I had to have it and this was just the beginning. I set up my notebook and book next to each other and dug in.
I never ever sat at the tables at the library. They were uncomfortable and sticky. It
disturbed me to think about it.
So I found a spot in the quiet zone, as I called it. It was way in the back corner of the library near some really big law books. I walked from aisle to aisle picking out my spot. There was a guy with black hair and a long sleeve shirt sitting at the back table so I kept going towards the corner of the room until I found a row that was out of sight of anyone. I dumpe
d my bag on the floor and plopped
myself next to it.
I pulled out my latest read for American Literature and let myself be sucked in.