>She couldn't focus straight.
>She could hardly breathe.
>All that was on her mind was getting home on time.
>Carefully, she dashed to her front door step.
>There the girl took in a deep breath and fixed her hair.
>She was going to need to look presentable for this one.
>Feeling a hot rock lay in the bottom of her gut, she opened up the front door to her apartment.
>And headed inside.
>Immediately she was hit by the disgusting rank odor of cigarette smoke.
>This only added fuel to the already growing stress fire.
>Whenever there was smoke nothing good was sure to follow.
>A cold voice coming from the couch spoke.
>Her heart jumped down her chest.
>As she cautiously glanced to the couch she saw the familiar light pink, and dark blue hair of her favorite girl in the world, BonBon.
>Every few seconds she'd exhale more smoke into the apartment.
>And sound more annoyed while doing so.
"Are you deaf?" her tone bitter and angry.
>N-No, Bonnie" the mint girl pleaded.
>"I just ha-had my headphones in is all" her heart began to pound in her chest.
>She needed to keep the peace between them.
"Answer me when I talk to you." another puff of smoke entered the room.
>The smoke felt like it was clouding her head and smothering her heart.
>Defeated, the mint girl slumped as she took a spot on the couch right next to her chimney of a girlfriend.
>Right next to where she was letting the smoke fly.
>It caused her eyes to water and her throat to feel tight.
>Not as bad as it has been the last few times, but still.
>There was a little piece of something inside her that made her speak up this time.
>"B-Bonnie?" even saying her name flipped her stomach upside down.
>Without even looking towards her, she let out another mouth full of smoke.
>She said it as if she was already bored at the first word.
>"...I-I really wish you wouldn't smoke in here..." Lyra could feel the words making her shiver in fear.
>A dreadful silence fell over the room.
>But BonBon let out another toxic-filled puff of smoke.
"Do you now?"
>Her words cut right to Lyra's core.
>"I-I just...it's not goo-good for you...Bonnie" the poor girl stammered out.
>Lyra's hand was pinching the side of her elbow.
>She crossed a line.
>She just knew it.
>The simple word came from beside her.
>Shocked barely described the reaction.
>Curiously, she glanced over and saw BonBon take one last, long drag of her cigarette.
>Taking it out of her mouth until it was almost a nub.
>That's when she rubbed it out on the arm of the couch.
>Right next to similar looking burn holes.
"What do you say?"
>Deep inside, Lyra could feel her optimism slowly fading.
>That one, tiny bright spot of courage seemed to vanish into thin air.
>"Th-Thank you Bon-Bonnie"
>She shrank on the couch as she felt nausea in every part of her body.
>"I-I-I appreciate that..."
>Silence filled the room again.
>BonBon went back to watching her shows.
>While Lyra sat beside her not moving a muscle.
"You better" was all the cream-colored girl said in response.
>She rested her head against her hand and scooted away from Lyra.
>Leaving one cushion of space between them.
>Lyra felt cold.
>She tried to remember the last time her and BonBon hugged.
>"She...she's just been busy..." Lyra justified her girlfriend's actions.
>The image of her sofa arm covered in black cigarette burn holes stayed in her mind.
>"Yeah...busy" she repeated to herself.
>She was getting lost in memories again.
>They were more pleasant than dealing with the reality before her.
"You gonna make dinner or what?" BonBon's annoyed tone broke the silence once more.
>With a hop in her step, Lyra quickly stepped up from the couch.
>An anxiety bomb was threatening to go off in her chest.
>As she crossed BonBon's path she felt a force on her wrist keep her in place.
>Snapping her head towards her hand.
>She saw BonBon's fingers wrapped tight around her wrist.
>With BonBon giving her the most serious stare she's ever seen.
"Don't. Burn. It."
>She tightened her grip on Lyra's wrist so hard that the poor mint colored girl was nodding her head as hard as she could.
>Anything to stop BonBon.
>And just as soon as it started she let go.
>Letting Lyra stumble away towards the kitchen.
>Deathly afraid to fail.
>A short time later she had everything going.
>And even a small dessert for later.
>If BonBon was feeling up to it.
>It was her favorite dessert after all.
>Sticky Sweet Buns.
>Even just holding them brought back a bunch of warm memories to Lyra.
>How her and BonBon would have so much fun in a kitchen trying out different recipes for the perfect sweet bun.
>The flour fights.
>Booping each other's nose with glaze.
>Feeling happy just being around her.
>She had no idea what happened.
>Lyra was broken from her trip down memory lane when a horrid smell entered her nostrils.
>Instantly she felt her soul freeze solid.
>She couldn't breathe.
>Dashing over to the oven, she confirmed what she didn't want to be true.
>She opened the oven and a small billow of black smoke escaped into the kitchen.
>The outside of the roast looked like charcoal.
>There had to be something Lyra could do to salvage this.
>But all her thoughts were jumbled by her panicking.
>She froze in place just staring at the roast.
>Hoping a miracle would happen.
"Lyra!" shouted from behind her.
>It was BonBon.
>The all too familiar smell of nicotine mixed in with the burnt food smell.
>It was making Lyra light-headed.
>She didn't want to turn around and face BonBon, but it wasn't like she had any other choice.
>As she slowly turned around she caught a glimpse of a lit cigarette between BonBon's fingers.
>She took one look at her face and almost puked.
>Her angry vein was popped up against her forehead.
>Lyra swallowed hard as her insides felt like they were on fire.
>She pinched her arm hard to calm down, but it wasn't working.
"Did you burn the goddamn dinner Lyra?"
>She jabbed an accusing finger in her direction.
>Cigarette still in hand.
>Lyra was a deer caught in a bear trap.
>She was hoping to bleed out before the hunter returned though.
>Sadly not the case.
>She shut her eyes tight and gently nodded her head.
>Anything to end this nightmare.
"What was the one thing I asked you to do Lyra?"
"Don't burn dinner, and what do you do?"
>She walked to the still open oven with the blackened roast still inside.
"You fucking burnt it."
>BonBon slapped her free hand against her face and sighed in disgust.
"Unbelievable" she yelled as she paced back and forth in front of her scared girlfriend.
>Lyra wanted to run so badly.
>But her legs glued her to the kitchen.
"And after I put my smoke out after you got up my ass about it!"
"I figured you'd at least return that kindness to me, but I can see I was way fucking wrong wasn't, Lyra?"
>Her screaming was in full force now.
>Bad feelings and memories were weighing Lyra down.
>This was a nightmare.
>A real life nightmare.
>She wanted to curl up on the floor and hide.
>But before she could lift a finger.
>She felt that same tightness around her wrist from earlier.
>Snapping her eyes wide open she came face to face with the fury of BonBon.
>Brow furrowed deeply.
>Mouth curled into a snarl.
>Her dark blue eyes piercing Lyra's very being.
>"Bonnie, you're hurting me" Lyra pleaded.
>BonBon just squeezed her wrist even tighter.
>Gone was the subtlety and restraint from BonBon's eyes.
>Instead in it's place was pure hatred.
>Evil, ugly, hatred.
>She bent Lyra's wrist up and pinched it in place.
>A yelp of pain escaped Lyra's throat.
>She was cowering in fear.
>Tears were pooling in her eyes.
>That's when BonBon brought her face slightly closer.
>She put her cigarette back in her mouth.
>Took a quick puff and spit a fog of smoke right in Lyra's face.
>The mint girl's eyes stung as tears poured down the sides of her face.
>There was nothing in Lyra to fight back.
>She wasn't strong enough to break away.
>Bonbon's grip was too vice-like
>With the bottom of Lyra's arm still exposed.
>And with BonBon not breaking eye contact with Lyra.
>She began to move her lit cigarette over the part where wrist meets hand.
>Lyra could feel the heat coming from the cancer stick.
>A cold sweat broke out across her forehead.
>Then without warning, BonBon pressed the cigarette into Lyra's wrist.
>Twisting her hand to keep it steady.
>The burning sensation was indescribable.
>All the nerves in her brain were firing all at once.
>She needed to run.
>But the more she tried to get away.
>The stronger BonBon's grip became.
>"Bonnie plea- AHHHHH!" her voice broke as her yell echoed throughout her apartment.
>Her knees buckled as she collapsed to the floor.
>Wrist still held by BonBon.
>Her entire being was trembling.
>It was too much.
>But, the burning sensation dulled slightly.
>Lyra forced herself to look up to see BonBon pulling the smoke away.
>She took one final drag from it as she let it drop on the kitchen tiles.
"Are you going to burn my dinner again?" smoke poured out of her mouth as she berated Lyra.
>The shaking girl was trying to cover her face to hide her tears.
>But to no avail.
>She sobbed as a pain in her wrist throbbed.
>Her stomach was nothing but knots.
>But she still found some small reserve of energy to shake her trembling head no.
"Good" she let go of Lyra's arm as she quickly held it to her stomach.
"Because next time I won't stop you little shit" she spat towards Lyra.
>Lyra didn't want to look at her wrist.
>She just kept it close to her stomach and applied pressure.
>It was all she could do.
>She heard footsteps back towards the living room.
>Then silence for a second.
"You better find a way to cover that up before our dinner date with Rarity tomorrow" the order piled on to the increasing burden on Lyra's shoulders.
>And with that, BonBon slammed Lyra's front door shut.
>Leaving her apartment smelling like fear, and smoke.
>Lyra wanted to get up.
>To go clean herself off in the bathroom.
>But, her body just refused to.
>So she did the next best thing.
>She curled up on the cold, hard floor.
>And cried until she couldn't cry no more.
>Maybe then she'll get up.
>Through blurry eyes she saw something on the floor.
>Sweet buns plopped upside down.
>Dropped like they didn't matter.
>Just like how Lyra fell to the floor.
>Like she didn't matter.
>Life felt different outside.
>Colors seemed bleaker.
>Sounds seemed duller.
>It was hard to place her finger on specifics.
>But then again she hasn't been 100% for quite some time now.
>She looked down at her hands.
>The rose-gold bangle on her right hand drew her eye.
>It brought back memories from last night.
>And she was certain it showed on her face.
>Bumps and minor pot holes jostled Lyra around.
>The bangle on her arm jiggled as well.
>It was the only thing she could find on short notice that wouldn't arouse any suspicion.
>She wrapped her other hand around the bangle and held it close.
>Happy thoughts were what she needed.
>Not awful memories.
>The bus had stopped moving.
>Lyra failed to realize this as she tried to calm down.
>Quickly she opened her eyes back up and was greeted by a blue, lightning bolt t-shirt.
>She looked up at the shirt wearer's face.
>Dark, blue hair styled by hand.
>Navy blue jeans, and a black, unzipped hoodie.
>There was no mistaking it.
>It was one of Lyra's other besties, Flash Sentry.
>Lyra sat up straight and scooted down a seat.
>Letting Flash take the spot next to her.
"Wasn't expecting to see you today" his tone sounded genuinely happy.
>He placed a guitar shaped case on the seat beside them.
>I could say the same thing, heh"
>Flash was the second sweetest person Lyra knew.
>He was like the gay male friend she never had.
>Even though she knew he was straight.
>Still, he treated Lyra like a friend.
>And that's all she cared about.
>Flash proceeded to start to unzip the guitar shaped bag and pull out his axe.
>A solid-body electric guitar with a cherry-sunburst finish.
>The envy of Lyra's eyes whenever Flash brought it around.
>"Got a gig tonight?" Lyra asked as Flash began to tune the guitar.
>He let out a sigh first.
"No, just another practice." his head drooped slightly.
>Lyra knew that Flash and his band were having a hell of a time finding their big break.
>You could say she was sorta the group's roadie.
>But, sadly she has done much roadie-ing for a while now.
>Lyra stretched her hand out towards Flash and gave him a reassuring pat on the back.
>"Just keep your head in there."
>"You'll find something"
>The anxiety rotting inside of Lyra always dulled when she could make someone else smile.
"Thanks Lyra" he shot her a quick grin and went back to tuning his guitar.
>A moment past between the two.
"So how's BonBon?"
>Easygoing silences were a thing that still stayed out of Lyra's reach.
>Flashes of last night rushed to the front of her mind.
>She could still remember how loud she cried.
>How numb she felt.
>Lyra looked down at her legs away from Flash.
>She hoped he would change the subject.
"She still selling those...honey bun things?" he asked as he strummed a string.
>Lyra looked at her hands.
>Small bits of dried up sticky bun glaze were still stuck to them.
>"Y-Yeah, she is" Lyra lied.
"Cool, good to hear" he said with his usual Flash enthusiasm.
>Lyra started to pinch the side of her hand.
>Around the bangle.
>Her teeth gritted just a little.
>That's when she heard a small noise.
>Looking down she saw the loose bangle tapped against one of the metal buttons on her purse.
>Lyra looked up and saw Flash was focused on her hand.
"Loving the new bling, Lyra"
>Her heart felt like it was moving through quicksand.
>"My mom gave it to me"
>She had to find a way to change the topic and fast.
>Before Lyra could think of a topic to switch to.
>She lurched forward as the bus practically hopped in the air.
>While the driver was cussing under his breath, Lyra noticed her bangle thrown off to a pair of empty seats in front of Flash.
>The polished surface found a way to reflect a beam of light right onto Flash's guitar.
>Lyra could see the burn on her wrist.
>She knew it was there.
>It was an ugly reminder of awful times.
>So she had to make sure no one would see it.
"Hey Lyra,where's that kickin bangle you were wearing?"
>Lyra slowly started to scoot out of her seat so she could retrieve it.
>"Oh, heh it fell off after that last bump" she made sure to cover her arm up as well as she could.
"Isn't that it?" he pointed towards the rose-gold bangle right across from him.
>"O-Oh, would you look at that" she was growing more anxious the longer the conversation went on.
>Flash gently placed his guitar to the side and reached over to the fallen piece of jewelry.
>He grabbed it with ease and sat right back up in his seat.
"Here" he placed the rose-gold bangle into Lyra's palm.
>Not noticing she was using her other hand to clench around her wrist.
>"...Thanks" she sighed.
>Her head drooped down to her wrist again.
>She could still feel it.
>The smell of burnt skin, and nicotine.
>Lyra's hand began to tremble.
>She saw the singed red blister between her fingers.
>The world was starting to feel like it was closing in.
>Her lungs unable to breathe.
>Ice-cold sweat beads rolled down her head.
>For a brief moment.
>She thought she saw what looked like a cigarette heading for her wrist.
>"No!" she flinched as her eyes shut tight.
>A slight whimper escaping her lips.
>Lyra's eyes snapped opened when she felt the familiar force of a hand around her wrist.
>She looked down and saw Flash's hand over the top of it..
>"You okay?" he asked concerned.
>Her brain was firing on all cylinders once more.
>She shook her hand free from his.
>"Get away from me!"
>Flash recoiled at Lyra's sudden outburst.
>Adrenaline was pumping through Lyra.
>She couldn't calm down.
>Through her foggy vision she noticed Flash was still continuing to stare at Lyra's wrist.
>That's when she realized her free hand was busy pinching the side of her elbow.
>"Oh shit" was all she could think.
>Because there when she found the strength to look down was the ugly keepsake of what a miserable waste of a person she was.
>It was a sizable scar.
>At least the size of a quarter.
>Colored a sickly combination of yellow, red, and purple.
>And it was exposed for everyone to see.
>The hiss of the wind was replaced by a high pitch whine in her ears.
>Without missing a beat, Lyra sprang from her seat and charged towards the front of the bus.
>Thank goodness the bus was stuck moving along at a snail's pace.
>"Stop the bus" she frantically spat out to the driver.
"Lady, I ain't stopping this bus in the middle of traffic just for yo-" he turned to explain to Lyra.
>But he did not realize what he was up against.
>"I said stop the bus!" she yelled at the top of her lungs.
>The driver covered his ears as he reached towards the door release lever.
>The door opened and Lyra practically sprinted out.
>Running through a street of traffic until the bus was just a dot behind her.
>Ignoring the frantic cries of her name from Flash.
>She looked down at her naked wrist, and immediately covered it with her free hand.
>The morning air was brisk.
>Everywhere the grass was practically drenched in a dew.
>The daily joggers had done their lap through here.
>Now it was as silent as a monastery
>The perfect time for someone to be alone.
>Lyra shivered as she hugged her body for warmth.
>In a way she enjoyed it.
>At least she was feeling something.
>Her stroll lead her to the beginning of a pier.
>It lead out a bit into the lake, but the top was covered by a morning mist.
>To an outsider it had the appearance of something you'd see in a magazine.
>And they'd be right.
>The place was a sight to behold.
>A small breeze braced against Lyra's exposed arms once more.
>She could feel the temperature dropping with each passing minute.
>Her teeth began to chatter slightly.
>But aside from that.
>She felt nothing looking around.
>The happy, shining light that filled her heart to bursting.
>The memories remained.
>Joyous laughing under the starlit skies.
>Picnics where everything just felt magical.
>Like nothing bad could go wrong.
>Something changed though.
>Although, what that thing was.
>Lyra didn't know.
>She just knew those days were long gone.
>Lyra found herself walking out on the pier.
>Her dainty sneakers making every other board creak.
>Upon reaching the end.
>She leaned against one of the posts to her side.
>Gazing down into the misty water.
>The depths were hidden from her.
>It could be ankle deep or it could be a vast wonderland at the bottom.
>A strange feeling crept up in the back of her mind.
>She looked down at her feet.
>They were close near the edge.
>Just one swift motion and it would all be done.
>No more numbness.
>It would finally end.
>Lyra closed her eyes.
>She was scared.
>But her foot continued forward.
>"Dear, what are you doing?" came familiar posh voice
>And in that instance.
>The world came crashing back down.
>Like it always did.
>Without thinking, the cold, and lonely girl turned towards the start of the pier.
>It was Rarity, purple curls in her hair, dressed to the nines as always.
>Well, when you compared it to Lyra's thin tank-top, and shorts.
>One would think it was the highest fashion.
>"Lyra?" she asked once more.
>The growing concern in her voice becoming noticeable.
"Uhh, h-hey Rare..."
"I was just...uh."
"Just uh..." Lyra trailed off as she glanced back towards the lake once more.
>One small move and it would be done.
>That thought ground up the inside of her stomach
>"Lyra, I can see you shaking from here."
>"It's much too cold to be out here like that.
>A momentary silence filled the air.
>Then the sound of wooden creaks caused Lyra's hair to stand on its end.
>And before she knew it, a warm feeling found it's way around Lyra's body.
>To her sides she saw the material of a fine looking jacket.
>Accompanied by a gentle squeeze from behind.
>"Poor thing, you're absolutely frozen" Rarity stated.
>"Come now, nurse Rarity has blankets and hot cocoa just for situations like this." she held onto Lyra's shoulders.
>Taking one more look at the lake.
>Lyra realized her mind was blank.
>And her stomach wasn't tying itself in knots.
>She didn't know how to take that, but she did.
>Rarity slowly helped Lyra turn around.
>Like a mother deer helping it's child learn how to walk.
>Upon looking back towards the pier.
>A sight that turned her blood cold greeted her.
>BonBon's emotionless glare.
>Lyra felt her throat close as she struggled to breathe.
>"Lyra?" Rarity's arms were pushed off as the panicking girl could hardly stay still.
>She had to get out of here.
>Taking one step forward however.
>She failed to remember the jacket that surrounded her back.
>The sleeve was dangling down towards her feet.
>One small step was all it took.
>And in a flash Lyra stumbled backwards.
>Making a hard splash into the mist-filled lake.
>If the temperature of the lake wasn't apparent to Lyra before.
>It was now.
>Freezing icicles stabbed all down her back.
>Her face submerged in the murky depths.
>Now was a bad time to remember she couldn't swim.
>Instinctively she thrashed her arms about.
>Trying to break through to the surface.
>But to no avail.
>Panic was her only thought.
>She wildly kicked her legs hoping it'd somehow bring her to safety.
>Each kick feeling more sluggish than the last.
>It was as if someone had tied weights to her limbs.
>The top of her head managed to break the surface once.
>Where she foolishly took a full gulp of air, but received lungs full of lake water instead
>"Hel-" was all she could choke out before she dipped back under the water.
>Arms and legs dead tired.
>No more energy.
>Eyes growing heavy.
>Everywhere was black.
>And as quickly as it came.
>Light soon appeared back in the world.
>A bone white light with gorgeous eyes.
>And lips that tasted like strawberries.
>Sweet, sweet strawberries.
>She felt life billow throughout her body.
>And looking up at those piercing, blue eyes.
>Lyra knew in her heart.
>That something had changed.
>But this time she definitely knew what.
>Soft, pure, marshmallow lips.
>Breathing life back into her husk of a body.
>It was something she never expected would happen.
>But it had.
>There was "something" there that wasn't there before.
>"I can't believe that was the only thing you could find."
>The bitter words of Lyra's gf still made her stand to attention no matter what.
>Lyra glanced down at her arms.
>The cheap, plastic armband around her right wrist looked out of place.
"I-It was all I coul-could find Bonnie..."
>Anxiety gripped her heart firmly.
>"Bullshit" her quiet outburst caused Lyra's hands to start shaking once more.
>She could feel the apathy of BonBon's eye roll against the back of her neck.
>It felt like the icy prickly water of the lake.
>Except she was bone dry.
>"If Rarity sees this." the cream colored hand swiftly grabbed Lyra's wrist.
>She pushed the armband up slightly just so Lyra could see the burn scar.
>It was all she could look at.
>"If Rarity sees that,." she spoke as if there was a finality in her breath.
>"Hey, look at me" she hissed through her teeth.
>Pushing Lyra's chin up so she was face to face with the eyes from her nightmares.
>"If Rarity sees that or if I see that stupid armband off any time during dinner."
>A brief silent pause to make Lyra's imagination go wild.
>To make her anxiety flourish like an invasive weed.
>"...I don't know what I'll do." she admitted.
>"But you'll need something bigger than an armband to cover it up."
>"Got it?" BonBon's breath smelled like a combination of smoke and peppermint gum.
>A smell that always made Lyra feel nauseous.
>A weak nod was all Lyra gave in response.
>She just wanted to get this over with.
>The door they were standing in front of suddenly turned and opened.
>Rarity's fabulous figure stood before them.
>A glittering star among mortals practically.
>BonBon's attitude immediately made a 180.
>The world was seeing "Sweetie Drops"
>But Lyra knew the real BonBon.
>At least, she thought she did.