By @Kconway

Tattoos that people are born with determine who they belong with. Anna Cardale has recently escaped a horrifying past from her father. She has no desire to find her potential soulmate. In fact, she despises love. ...Until she actually finds him.

Chapter 13

• 13 •

– Anna’s POV –

I sigh and stare blankly down at the song notebook in front of me, leaning over the desk in class with dull eyes. My cheek stays propped against my fist. 

I want to write down exactly what I feel. Somehow, this paper stays empty. There’s absolutely nothing there. 

…Maybe I can’t describe it any better. 

I close the notebook and instead pick up the guitar again, picking at the strings as the wood shop teacher passes me with a raised eyebrow. He’d seen me writing and slacking off, but judging by how quickly I’d just built a guitar in two hours (two classes this week), he assumed he didn’t need to make a comment.

I feel Nico continue to look up at me from across the room, and eventually I sigh, glaring at him. “What?”

He shakes his head. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

“You can’t just give me looks like that and then brush it off when I ask about them,” I say, deadpan in annoyance.

He chuckles and then gets up from his spot, bringing his small project with him. He chips away when he sits down next to me, and I watch him. His accuracy is faulty.

“You seem more off than what I think you usually are,” He says. “Hayley said you’ve been more silent and darker than you tend to be in a normal time and place.”

I shrug and then look back at the sound board of the guitar. It’s smooth, and I sanded it perfectly. Unlike me, it’s soft. I’ve toughened around people more. Again. And after Aiden dropped me off, he didn’t say anything. I didn’t either. He just let me go. We didn’t even speak on the drive back. 

And now it’s Tuesday, and I’ve almost been here for three weeks. The school still rumors about me, but not as much so as in the beginning. But Aiden has completely avoided me. Now he’s the one treating me like I did him last week. But in his defense, I haven’t made a move to talk to him either. 

I’m not stupid. I know he’s staying away from me so he not only can avoid explaining what had happened at the house, but to also keep me away from whatever the hell is going on in his life. He doesn’t want to let me in. It has nothing to do with protecting me. He’s just shutting me out, doesn’t want me to understand his secrets. But I would refuse to let him understand mine too. No one really can anyway. 

“Why are you so closed off?” He sighs. 

“I’m not,” I lie, snapping angrily. 

He scoffs. “Uh yeah. You are.”

We both mess with our objects for a second, him polishing the beginning of his clock, and me brushing off any extra wood shavings. 

“I’m not closed off,” I say quietly, restating my argument. “I was just shut down before I had the chance to be opened.” 

I don’t lift my head and instead reach for my song notebook, flipping to an open note page. I insert those very words inside and close it again. All the while, Nico has looked up from his work and is staring at the side of my head. I act like I don’t see him doing so, but I know he recognizes the uncomfortable pain in my face. I hate allowing others to know anything. That’s all I’ll give him.

And it seems to be enough, because he doesn’t speak to me for the rest of the period.

In academic extension, I sit by the window, staring out into the world aimlessly as the parking lot rests at a sit-still. My chin is pressed against the surface of the desk, arms crossed in front of me. Music plays in my ears through tiny white buds. 

“I’m paralyzed.

Where are my feelings?

I no longer feel things.

I know I should,

I’m paralyzed.

Where is the real me?

I’m lost and it kills me.


I’m paralyzed.”

NF is probably my favorite, most relatable rapper on the face of the planet. He has no idea how much he’s helped teach me that I’m not alone- in the reality of problems at least. In my specific one, I am alone. Like really. But it helps to know that there are others who feel as empty as I do too. 

“I’m paralyzed.

I’m scared to live, but I’m scared to die.

And if life is pain, then I buried mine,

A long time ago.

And it’s takin’ over me.

Where am I?

I wanna feel something,

I’m numb inside.

And on the race of life time passes by-


I sit back and watch it,

Hands in my pockets.

I just watch it.

I’m underwater but I feel like I’m on top of it.

I’m at the bottom

And I don’t know what the problem is.

I’m in a box-

But I’m the one who locked me in.

Suffocating and running out of oxygen.”


Perfectly described. 

Someone taps my shoulder. I look to my right, where Hayley is smiling at me and gesturing for me to take my ear buds out. I’m sure her fake grin is due to my baggy eyes, injured knee, and dreary state. I haven’t slept since Aiden’s place. And now my nightmares are from my father, the stranger on the street, and the dude who interrupted my and Aiden’s time. Oh yeah. And the thunderstorms have only become more frequent. 

All within a few days.

I take my right bud out and she points up to the front of the classroom. “Mrs. Meyer said you have a phone call at the front office.”

I sigh and stand nevertheless, glancing at none other than Mrs. Meyer. She gives me a nervous, tight-lipped smile and a nod. I roll my eyes at her fearful habits and leave, uninterested in anything and everything around me.

When I get to the office, I go up to some old receptionist lady who was typing away furiously on her keyboard. It takes her about ten seconds to even know I’m standing there, which is a long time in conversation years. 

“Oh. Hello. What can I do for you?” She asks kindly, breaking the stereotype for cranky school receptionists…and old people.

“Phone call?”

Her eyes light in recognition. “Right. Here you are.” She hands the phone to me and I nod, turning around since it’s the only sort of privacy I can have. 


There’s hesitation on the other side, the only sound being breathing. But it isn’t the creepy kind of breathing like in the scary movies. It’s more of a nervous breathing. I don’t know how else to explain it. 

My brows furrow. “Hello?”

“Um-” The voice clears his throat. “I-I…”

It sounds so familiar. I swear I’ve heard it before. I know I’ve heard it before. Why can’t I pin point it? My photographic memory must be drained. 

“Look dude, if you can’t talk, then leave me alone,” I glower.

A deep breath is taken in, cracky and muffled due to the reception of the outdated wall phone between us. 

“A-Anna? It’s…It’s me.”

My breath hitches in my throat, making me feel as if I might have to cough. But I don’t move at all. The only thing that I actually do is tighten my fingers around the phone until my entire hand turns pale. 

I knew the voice was familiar. Maybe I just didn’t recognize it at first because I didn’t want to. My body told me not to trust my instincts, so I didn’t. Without me even knowing it. 

His deep rumble that sounds scary to most sounds calming to me. It’s the same voice that told me those fun stories. It’s the same voice that taught me how to sing. It’s the same voice that promised me he’d never leave. And it’s the same voice that did.

My hands shake and tremble violently as tears burn the whites of my eyes. But I won’t cry here. Not in public. Certainly not at school, where attention could be drawn. 

I feel my heart banging on the door to my chest, screaming and kicking to be let out. But I keep it enclosed and lock it down with chains for extra measure, just in case. 

I swallow once, tongue suddenly dry. “Why are you calling here?” I ask darkly.


“Anna, I want to talk to you. I want to see you again. I need to see you again.” His voice sounds weak, tired, and broken. Like he’s lost sleep for the last decade. He isn’t alone on that. 

“Well that’s funny,” I laugh bitterly. “You didn’t need nor want to see me just a few years ago.”

“I…that can be explained. I promise I didn’t just up and leave you. Not exactly.” 

I roll my eyes. “Actually, that is exactly it. It doesn’t matter what your reasons were.”


“Goodbye, Dakota.”

I glare at nothing in particular and turn around, handing the lady the phone again. She stares at me with concern – no, pity – and I almost snarl. I spin to the exit, leaving in angry strides. 

I head toward my class again, but stop when a figure moving around is seen in the corner of my eye in the music room. I back up two steps and peek inside the dark room, watching the hooded person fluidly move around. 

He who is obviously a guy goes over to one of the electric guitars and puts it on over his shoulder, swinging it around on his back. He glances around for a moment, completely missing me, and then speed walks over to the window. And within blinks of time, he’s opened it up and slipped outside, shutting it again. 

I open the music room door and run inside, making my way to the window with the boot on my foot (which slows me down anyway). I hate I have to wear it, but Aiden said he’d gone through the same thing, and there’s no need to go to the doctor and have to pay a bunch of bills to get it fixed. I just need to wear this because it’ll straighten my ligament the way it needs to be straightened. 

Anyway, when I get a good enough view of the outside, the mystery person is no where to be seen. I try to stretch my neck and look around, but fail epically. It’s like he vanished in seconds. 

I clench my teeth together and climb down from the bucket I’d stepped on to see outside. Stupid, no-good thief. Usually I wouldn’t judge. Who knows what that person’s story is? But he stole a guitar. One that I sometimes play in here, along with the rest. So when someone takes my guitars – even though technically it isn’t mine – it becomes personal. 

“Anna? What are you doing in here?”

I close my eyes for a moment after hearing my psychology teacher’s voice, and then open them, the actual orbs stuck up top in an eye roll. Then I turn around to see his suspicious, nosy expression. 

“None of your business, I’m afraid,” I reply dryly. “Don’t you have a class to attend, Mr. Owen?”

“Don’t you?”

I shrug. “Not one that I don’t already contain its content of.”


I roll my eyes. “Good day, Mr. Owen.” 

I walk – or hobble – over to the exit and move out of my teacher’s path by sliding in next to him, all the while ignoring his suspicious glare.

Honestly, all men I’ve met have treated me like ****, hurt me (physically…and emotionally), or betrayed me. All of them except for Nico so far, but he’s just creepy for stalking me. I guess he hasn’t really disproved any loyalty, although I will definitely brace myself just in case. 

As for Mr. Owen’s…

He’s just your average gossip-thirsty schoolgirl. That much I can tell.

-Er, man.

Oops. Sorry. 

It’s hard to tell when you encounter males that seem to be stuck up *******.



My older brother told me my author notes are like the TheBibicalSinner ‘s. Short, sarcastic, and dryly humorous. I guess I’ll feel complimented. Love his books. Go check em out if you get the chance. My opinion: start with the “Alexander” series. 

That wasn’t as short as they usually are, eh?

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