There was a sickening feeling of déjà vu about all of this.
Bryony had never given less than 100% to anything she put her mind to in her life. Every sketch, every piece of schoolwork, every earnest attempt to make friends. Even when she was at her lowest ebb, even when she was enduring the worst of Bethanys taunts and insults, she tried as hard as she possibly could in her current situation; tried to endure, tried to ignore them, tried to persevere with her life as well she could.
And yet, so often, it didnt seem to matter. She did her best. She always did. But half the time there was something in her way, something that kicked her not when she was down but when she was clambering to her feet, something that rendered her best efforts completely irrelevant.
She had poured her heart out to Alba, begged her to stay, thrown any semblance of dignity out the window in her efforts to keep this girl alive, this girl who she had barely known for more than a day, yet it hadnt been enough. Alba had clearly already set her mind on leaving and going after Kimiko. No amount of pleading seemed likely to change that. And yet, as the other girl gave her one last smile and hurried out of the gym, Bryony tried anyway.
Alba! Alba, please, wait! Alba!
She would have said more, she wanted desperately to find the right thing that would cause Alba to stop and turn back, but her throat and her lungs just couldnt take anymore. They felt like they were closing up, blocking her breathing, choking the life from her. She had unconsciously taken several steps forwards as she had been crying out to Alba, but she was forced to stop, tears streaming down her face and dripping against the floor, forcing herself to take short, haggard breaths.
The minutes passed like hours until Bryony was able to breathe again. By that time, Alba was long, long gone. She had said she would come back as soon as she could. Chances were, that would still take a very, very long time.
In all of the white noise and haze of her emotional overload, Bryony hadnt noticed that Alba had run off on her own. It was only when Arthur moved forwards to carry away Bradleys body that she realised this. Too numb to feel much of anything, let alone feeling pathetic at her current state, she stared at Arthur through tear-stained glasses, as if bewildered at what she was seeing.
youre not going with her?
Her voice was a whisper, almost certainly inaudible to the remaining few left in the gym. She removed her glasses, looking down at the blurry lenses. Her hands werent shaking anymore, but that was more thanks to the overall hollow feeling that encompassed her right now. With that hollowness came a single, all important thought; Alba was heading out into the wilderness on her own, chasing after a double murderer who was almost certainly going to kill her as soon as she saw the gun in her hands.
No-one else in here was going to try and chase after her. As far as Bryony saw it, there was only one thing she could possibly do in this situation. Alba had to be talked down, wherever she was now.
Please stay safe, then
dont do anything stupid
Bryony wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, replaced her glasses, and ran past Arthur out the door.
((Bryony Adams continued in Lavender