Jules didn't die—he wasn't all that certain though.Although his limbs were still attached to his body, his heart, stomach, and ego had taken some serious clobbering.
The drive to Oakville's annual fair was just half an hour and during that time Jules thought he just might die.
"Jules!" Venus had screamed when his hold on her neared suffocating. "You're crushing me!"
"Ah, sorry." He'd said loosening his grip. Just a little.
"You know," she'd slowed down for a second, turning her head to give him a backward glance, visor up. "If I didn't see it for myself in people's heads I wouldn't have ever believed you were Oakville's very own heartthrob/football star. I mean aren't you supposed to be all male with testosterone oozing out of your pores."
Jules had responded with. "Keep your eyes on the road."
"I still can't believe that you emptied Mr. Alston pocket so easily," Jules said shaking his head.Venus fanned herself with the wad of cash in her hand. "It's not my fault he kept putting his wallet on the line."They had just closed up shop. After a dispirited Mr. Alston left Jun had spared word (like Venus predicted) about the psychic that could see all your secrets. Safe to say in the next hour they were flooded with people, some actual wanted their fortunes read, some wanted to speak to deceased loved ones but the majority just wanted to see if Madame V could actually read minds.She could, obviously.It was fun but Jules was glad it was over and thankful that other than Mr. Alston (who will never be able to look Venus in the eye again) no else found out who Madame V actually was."Come on, let's drop this in the dona
There was a hole in Jules's chest.Literally, figuratively? He wasn't sure, all he knew was Venus was not awake and—He. Couldn't. Breathe.The lack of oxygen in his lungs wasn't because the hospital room he sat in was bursting with people, it wasn't because he was trapped between the man who accidentally cushioned Venus's fall, probably saving her from dying instantly and David.It was because Venus was not awake. It had been 13 hours. 13 hours since she fell, 13 hours since they transported her to the hospital, 13 hours since she opened her eyes, 13 hours since Jules smiled, 13 hours since Jules breathed."Dude," David said after another hour of Jules asphyxiating. "Do you need an inhaler or something? You're breathing kinda funny."Or something, Jules thought. Or Venus. Just Venus.
Jules didn't realize when a fly appeared in his bowl of oats."Are you listening to me, Jules?"Why did you have to mess with my food, fly?"The school called, apparently you haven't been to school for two days!"You don't see me sticking my head in the trash can, now do you?"You leave the house every day with your bag to go to school—"If you just asked I would have given you some."—so where are you going?"Okay, I'm lying I wouldn't have given you but asking is the polite thing to do."JULIAN!" Marie slammed her hands on the table.Jules blinked slowly, dazed. "Why are you shouting, all of a sudden?""All of sudden? I have been talking to you for the past three minutes!""Yeah?" His head felt heavy, but not as heavy as the weight on his chest."Where have you been going during school hour
Trigger warning: depression, suicideIt took three seconds for the smile on Venus's face to melt away. Three seconds for her to fall apart. Three seconds for Jules to realize what a fool he was.Just three seconds.Venus laid back down on the bed gasping. Jules came closer hovering unsure what to do, where to touch, how to make it all better. Their eyes met for a second.And he was reminded of the unrealistic Bollywood movies his mom loved to watch. Where the actress always had makeup on, no matter the scenario. Wake up from bed? Flawless. Get hit by a car? Flawless. Venus looked the opposite of that.She looked-worn, tired, pale and small. There was a big lump under the sheet that happened to be her leg. There were a lot fewer wires than the last time he saw her. The bridge of her cheek was kissed by a painful bruise.She smiled, eyes glassy a watery smile. "You're such a crybaby," she squinted at him
"You don't have to go on, Jules."But he did.He realized now, finally, how much he needed to say it. Even though it felt like his heart was being crushed, by the weight of his words, his sins. Jules didn't stop."I met Manjusha when I was in sixth grade, I remembered thinking two things. One, she looked familiar and two, she wasn't pretty," he paused. "But I liked her right away. Her mom had been called as a favor by the principal to fill in as our teacher. So she brought her daughter Manju along and they both started to live on campus.Manju was good; you know the way puppies and flowers were good. Her hobbies included crying and watching movies, she was so talented she could do both at the same time. Somewhere between stopping her from having a total meltdown, anytime, a character dies. We became friends. She introduced me to anime and I taught her the fastest way to stop crying.""It was only when we had both left the boarding
"Things started going down the hill from there. My parents were getting into more arguments because of me. My grades plummeted; even football had lost its little appeal. I started having nightmares where Manju found out the truth.Everything stopped though when Manju went missing. I was worried, of course, I was worried but deep down...I was relieved. Glad she was gone. In the process of trying not to breaking her heart, of making her happy I was unhappy. I began to hate her for being delusional, hate her for being so fragile and naive. I hated Inu even more, I broke it off with her once Manju was gone.""I finally felt a semblance of peace," His voice sounded very far away, thick with tears. "They found Manju a month later or should I say they found her body. She was no longer a she but now an 'it'. I remembered seeing police cars zipping by but there was no case. Manju had drowned herself in Malarpon River jumping off the waterfall, a few miles from here.""I
Jules was happy.It was kind of terrifying really. He was half afraid of that guy showing up. The one that usually swung by when things were finally going right— Life. Yeah, that guy. Fucking terrified. But even more, overwhelming than his fear, was his happiness."So you are my girlfriend?" It sounded like a question because it was."Yes, Jules." Venus sounded exasperated and rightfully so. It had been two weeks since the incident. Not the Venus falling and almost cracking her skull open incident. No, more like the Venus crashing into Jules and completely obliterating everything in its axis— his heart.He'd looked up the definition of incident because it was beginning to be one of his favorite words.Incident: the occurrence of dangerous or exciting things.Jules was stupid or maybe just mad. Because afterward when he tried to remember while looking at Venus talking over the phone. All he remembered was
"When you said you wanted to paint me. I thought I would be the model, not the canvas." Jules said quietly. His mouth barely opening because Venus's paintbrush was dangerously close to slipping inside.She laughed and since she was so close - literally straddling him, he shivered or maybe spasmed. He couldn't decide, which was the equivalent to the feeling of thunderclouds battling on top his skin."I could have done that, but—""...then you wouldn't be Venus." He finished for her. Wild, beautiful and unorthodox.She smiled like she could read his mind.He opened his mouth to say something but swallowed his words when Venus leaned forward; her face - lips - inches from his collarbone. Her hand moved, paintbrush tracing the arch of his neck, up his Adam's apple - which bobbed and then his jawline.Jules couldn't breathe. When had things changed? When had his Sunday's changed? From watching anime, playing online games and compos