I met Anderson when I was about eleven. I had been at camp for a month or two before I really befriended him and Aurelia. Aurelia may have been the one my age, but I was always closer with Anderson. I kinda hung out with them back when Michael and Carah were there, but I got even closer once they were gone. I guess Mikey's death just brought us together. He had been my friend, too, after all.
It took another year or so for Anderson and I to get really close. It was hard, watching him fall. Jess wasn't good for him, she just wanted him for the popularity and the sex, and he sure did give that to her. She gave him more. Cigarettes, alcohol, parties, unconventional sex moves. She changed Anderson. He grew up. A lot. It scared me. The day after the final break up was the absolute worst. Definitely the lowest point I had ever seen him at.
"Andy? Ya in there?" I had asked, tentatively opening the door to his room with a knock. Something shattered, hitting the wall right next to my head.
"I'll take that as a yes," I whispered to myself, walking in and over to a clearly upset Anderson. Even drunk (the whole barrack reeked of alcohol because of him) Andy had immaculate posture. He was breathing hard, and swearing furiously.
"Anderson?" I repeated tentatively, placing a hand on his bicep. He spun around, ready to attack. Even wasted and betrayed, he had killer reflexes.
I jumped back a step, waiting for Anderson to relax before pulling him into a tight hug. Usually he smelled really, really good. Like fresh air and rain and the mountains with pine thrown in there. Now he just smelled like cheap beer.
"We've all been really worried about you," I whispered. We being Aurelia, Lucas, and myself. Anderson's arms were hanging loosely at his sides, but he had stopped swearing. Now he was just silent. Maybe that was good, and maybe that was bad, I wasn't sure.
That was when Anderson and I were first really close. We only grew closer after that. Talking, hanging out more as just the two of us. As attraction grew between Lucas and Aurelia, attraction grew between the two of us. Neither of us noticed, but everybody else did.
"Is it really just the two of us?" I asked Anderson as we walked to his car. He had his hands in the pockets of his jeans, and my arms were folded across my chest, keeping some of the cold air out. It was the middle of January, and as cold as San Francisco got. Living primarily at Camp Jupiter, I had well adjusted to their weather patterns.
"Yup," Anderson told me, shooting a smile down at me. "Aurelia and Lucas remembered other plans, and Annabell wasn't feeling well, so Josh stayed back with her," he explained to me. I nodded, yanking my beanie down a bit farther over my ears as we walked.
"Aurelia and Lucas could have at least come up with a better excuse to say they wanted to be alone," I joked casually, grinning up at Anderson. He returned the smile with a chuckle.
"They definitely could have," my friend agreed. With another shared smile, we approached his big black truck, and climbed in. It was strange to sit passenger side. Usually I was stuck in the back with Lucas and Josh or Eden, sometimes both, with Aurelia up front. With all the leg room, I could tell why she never let anyone else sit up front.
"So where are we headed to, exactly?" I asked, buckling up. Anderson had a huge rule about always being buckled when in his car. Once you knew the full details, it made sense why.
"The pier," Anderson replied, already heading towards the exit of camp. We both flashed our IDs when the time came, but we drove mostly in silence. That was what I liked about being with Anderson. We could be silent, and everything was fine. Getting lost in our own thoughts was normal, and we were comfortable with each other that way.
We approached the diner the whole group loved on foot. Rosetti's was a little mom and pop place that specialized in homemade Italian dishes. The place was fantastic, even better than the food in New Rome, and that was seriously difficult to beat.
Dinner went swimmingly. Joking, laughing, and even getting dessert afterwards, it was great. And Anderson had insisted on paying for me, and that had been a nice finishing touch.
The music in the car wasn't working for me, though. Without a word, I unplugged Anderson's phone from the auxiliary cord, and plugged my own in, pressing shuffle. Anderson immediately groaned when Taylor Swift came on, and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Jill, this isn't funny, can we please change the song?" the brunette immediately asked. Shaking my head, I grinned.
"No way, Andy!" I teased him, using the nickname I know he didn't like. This elicited another grown.
"This is literally burning my ears," Anderson grumbled, shooting me a playful glare. I laughed again.
"I don't see fire. Hush up," I countered him, poking his bicep. He was too fun.
"It's metaphorical," Anderson fought back jokingly, driving the hour back towards camp. It was about eleven, and and pitch black outside.
"I got that, silly," I teased him with a grin.
"No, there's literally fire coming from my ears," Anderson deadpanned. He earned a very loud laugh from, causing him to grin.
"You have the most ridiculous laugh," Andy commented once I had calmed down.
"What do you mean?" I asked, confused, and a little upset. Ridiculous had a negative connotation in my mind.
"You sound like a hyena," Anderson said, shooting me a warm smile in reassurance. "Don't worry. It's cute."
"Oh," I mumbled, blushing softly. I guess I had a cutely ridiculous laugh, then.
Things took a while to grow after that first date, but we did start hanging out more just the two of us. I know Eden didn't like it much, but she had never liked me anyways. Our personalities didn't work, and I saw her as shallow and way too insecure for comfort.
Anyways, Anderson and I grew a lot closer in the next couple of months, but Anderson also got even worse. Especially when he and Aurelia had some... disagreements.
I was sitting on the couch next to an already half drunk Anderson, knees pulled against my chest. There was no hope in keeping him from alcohol, so I decided to just stay with him to make sure he didn't do anything stupid.
We were in his room, as he was a centurion at this point, and silent. Until I heard another large crash. A loud expletive followed. I glanced over to see another glass bottle on the floor. That would be three beer bottles, and a thing of whiskey. The whiskey had been half empty when he started, and Anderson wasn't even done yet. I really did worry about him. This wasn't healthy, but nobody knew quite how to fix him.
Anderson sat down next to me, head in his hands. He was clearly very troubled with all of this.
"This isn't good for you, Anderson," I mumbled, my voice timid. His response was a muttered expletive, and then he was kissing me. And I was kissing back.
Anderson's hand was in my hair, and my arms were around his neck. And then he was pulling away, other hand still cupping my cheek.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me," Anderson whispered out. I barely had time to even register his words before his lips were on mine again.
Things with Anderson went well, kind of. We started dating on my sixteenth birthday. The two actually good birthdays I had ever had both seemed to mainly involve him.
Dating Anderson was chaos. Especially as our relationship grew more intimate. Yeah, that report about loud noises in the locker room in the middle of the night? Things got a little heated.
"So, I got a report about some loud noises in the locker room late last night," Josh said with a suggestive smile, coming up to Anderson and I. We had been standing around talking casually with Lucas and Aurelia in the middle of camp. We all had some free time, and decided to group together and hang out.
"He-- yeah you did," Anderson blurt out, wrapping his arm around my shoulders and pulling me straight against him. My jaw had dropped, and my cheeks on fire with embarrassment. We hadn't been that loud.
The look on Josh's face was of pure embarrassment. Clearly, he hadn't expected Anderson's answer either. I was expecting a sassy remark, as was typical of Anderson, not something like that...
"Uh, I gotta go, uh, see Annabell," Josh mumbled before scurrying off. Lucky duck could still do that.
"We should get going. Meeting, yeah," Lucas excused, running off with Aurelia in tow. Both looked incredibly uncomfortable, even more so than Josh. Probably because Anderson had forgotten that the Praetors had keys...
"We'll need to be quieter next time," Anderson said once everybody else was out of ear shot. Blushing more, I groaned, hiding my face against his chest.
"You are incorrigible."
"And yet you still find me sexy."
Things with Anderson went smoothly, and then in March, on the seventh, everything began to fall apart.
"Anderson?" I asked, poking my head into his room. I just saw him sitting on the edge of his bed, facing away from me. He turned, throwing a glass bottle straight towards me. With a gasp, I ducked out of the way. The bottle hit the wall where my head had been.
"I thought I loved you," he growled, standing up and walking towards me. My brows furrowed in confusion. What was he going on about?
"Anderson, what are you talking about?" I asked, well aware of the for that my boyfriend was actually sparking. I had never seen him in this state before.
"I trusted you! I [freaking] trusted you!" Anderson spat out. I was practically trapped against the wall, but it wasn't like before. This was different. This was so very different, and I was scared for my life.
"Anderson, what's going on?" I asked, my voice timid as the guy I had fallen for towered over me. We were supposed to have a special night, go out to this gala ball thing in the city. Yet here we were. It always seemed to come back to broken glass. We started there, and we'd end there.
"It was you this entire time! I told you everything, and you went around and turned on me!" he spat. Sparks and spittle continuously flew towards me. Somewhere, deep inside, I knew what he was talking about. Horror swept through my body, and my eyes were wide. I had done it again. For the second time in only a few years, I had gone and ruined everything.
"A-Anderson, I-I swear-"
He cut me off.
"No. You knew. Now get the f--- away from me," he hissed one final time. Without another hopeless plea of defense, I turned and ran.
That was one of the darkest moments I had ever experienced. Coming from a life full of tragedy, I was used to a lack of light, but that was just suffocating. The following couple of days were horrible. I didn't move from my bunk unless I had to. I barely ate, I barely drank. My will to live had been completely lost.
I had broken everything.
The water was peaceful, as it always was by the lake. I figured I would come here, the far side of the lake, to finish off the job. Nobody ever came out here anyways. Anderson and I were the only ones to really come out, and, well, that was broken.
My knees were pulled to my chest, covered in a tattered sky blue skirt. It was the skirt I had worn on my second date with Anderson, to Aguabella. My white jacket, a casual hoodie, had been thrown on in place of a shirt. My hair was a mess. I hadn't bothered with it in a week. It was still in that high ponytail, miraculously.
The water lapped onto the shore. Birds called in the distance. Cotton ball clouds dotted the cerulean skies. The scene was picturesque, and I was planning on shattering it.
"Why'd you do it?" Anderson asked, sitting next to me. I didn't turn to look at him. I couldn't look at him. He deserved better. He always would deserve better.
"I-I think," I began, shaking my head. "I'm sick. I'm twisted. I found it humorous. I don't know where that side of me comes from, and I despise it," I finished shortly. That was the only suitable description. I was a horrible person, and there was no way around it.
"Yeah," Anderson agreed softly. My heart ached for him, for his words. He hated me, and with every right. I had done my best to absolutely ruin him, all the while convincing myself that he was the love of my life. People wondered why I hated myself. I didn't have to wonder why Anderson hated me.
"Anderson, am I better off dead or am I better off dreaming?" I asked softly, turning to look to Anderson. He still had such pretty eyes.
"Jill, what? What are you talking about?" Without responding to his frantic questions, I pulled out my knife. Long, jagged edges, twisted. It was a horrible thing, and had inflicted so many wounds. This would be the last one.
"There's a book under my mattress you might want to read," I spoke quietly, fingering the blade gently. It was so sharp, so perfect.
"Jill, no, you can't do that!" Anderson objected, reaching for the knife. He was too slow. He was far, far too slow.
"Goodbye, Wonderland. I hope you miss me."
When the knife struck home, I didn't realize that would be only the first time I died. But then again, I didn't realize a lot of things.
The day I died was the Ides of March.
The day I came back was the start of the Feast of Fortuna.
I always had been one for symbols.