"So, what did you do over the weekend?" my best friend, Melissa, asks.
I stop moving, as if just been told devastating news, and stare into my locker. I shoot a glance to her, and she nods as I turn back to it.
"I get it, so what did he say?" her voice drops an octave, and this time I just blankly gape at my books.
I hold my breath and turn away, refraining from letting her see tears stroll down my face, but I wipe them away as obliviously as I could make it, and look down at the tile.
"Amelia?" she touches her dark hand on my shoulder and gently pulls.
I swing around into a hug, soon to be sobbing all over my friends shoulder. "He said I'm stupid, and you know, he's right, I can't even look in a mirror without the word useless popping into my worthless head every five, or less, seconds." She pats my back and after a few minutes of silence, we walk to class.
* * *
The bell rings after the last period of the day, and every student is once again, roaming the halls to get back to their blue, metal, vandalized cabinets. And the sound of a cash register lingers for endless minutes. However, I hurry as fast I can and pack up my ridiculous amount of home work. I stroll through the crowded hallways, which make me feel even more alone, until Melissa and I meet at the front doors of the school and walk to our bus. Bus 15.
The ride home is silent and awkward, but it's a good thing I'm the first one off so the feeling wasn't welcomed too long. I blankly gaze out the window to the palm trees that look as if they reach the blue sky that has no weakness, such as a storm cloud.
The bus comes to a quivering halt and the front doors swing open. Melissa and I walk onto the driveway, and the bus rocks away slowly. The sun booms down on us and I slowly daze off into a daydream, filled with glee, and dancing in the rain, and nature, and...everything magical. There's only one thing that I will most likely always long for: happiness.
It feels as if nothing is moving, and that my driveway is miles long when really it's only as far as a few feet. My brunette hair swishes in my face, along with the green leaves that fly off the trees like birds, only they don't go back up.
"Amelia..." Melissa nudges me.
"Sorry," I zap out of my nature day dreams and find myself at the door. I unlock the door and we step inside.
"You can go upstairs, I'll be up in a minute or two." I say and she nods solemnly.
I nervously play with my fingers and walk on the slippery wood flooring into the kitchen to see my dad standing back facing me; he's looking into the TV.
I open my mouth to talk, but no words come out...yet.
"H-hi dad." he turns around and smiles a lying smile.
"How was sch--?"
"I have Melissa over," I interrupt.
"Don't you dare interrupt me again. Ever. Understand?" he shouts so loudly I think my ear drums will shatter.
"No, I don't understand, why do you do this to me?!" I shout back.
"Stop it, you know I love you very much." his grimy voice rings out.
I roll my eyes and throw my arms up. "You're a horrible liar."
"Get out. Now." he says; slams his hands down on the counter top, almost afraid he'll crack it, and looks down to it.
"I can't wait until I'm eighteen, when I can get away from all of this..abuse!" I shout and turn around.
My feet scramble to be in sync with my mind as I try to run. It's not my feet though, I hear my dad start to move and suddenly he grabs my arm and pushes me up against the wall.
"You're so stupid, like your dead mother." he growls, "Get. Out." I pull my arm away and amble away from the first floor, also what I call hell. I stumble on the marble tile until thankfully finding the stairs.
I walk up the carpeted, swirling steps to find Melissa sitting on them. Her head is down low, until she looks up at me and follows me into my room.
* * *
An hour or two passed of school gossip, until she says something I'll never forget.
"Why don't you tell someone Mia?" she says nervously as I fumble with my laptop.
"Who, Liss? No one believes me, but you, and only because you've seen and heard." I choke out, and as I do I get a brilliantly devious idea.
"What's that look for?" she sees an evil smirk beginning to grow on my face, and comes by my side as I sit and stare at the computer screen.
My fingers press gently upon the keys until I see it and smile to her and point my finger at the prices.
"No, Mia, you can't! He'll kill you!" she faintly howls, but I don't care.
"I don't care what he does, I'm leaving, and I have a passport, so it's not like I'd have to get one." a grin spreads my face like a broom to floor and I practically flip off my bed.
She stands, too, and then inhales and exhales like she just did an aerobic exercise.
"I'm coming with you, my foster parents won't care," Melissa finally says while taking out her phone.
I feel crazy, like something has come over me that sends me into an adrenaline rush. I run back over to the laptop, print out the tickets for Groves, England and continue to pack.
"Maybe we shouldn't do this," Melissa stops, "and I just text them, and they don't care. It's amazing that they even know who I am, I haven't seen them since freshmen year, I've been staying here."
"I'm going, Liss, I need to, and your fosters are drunks, no offense." but I know she isn't offended.
"Maybe we should wait for..."
"For what? A week left of school and I'm not waiting, the plane takes off tomorrow, and you do know that my mom is not dead! I just know she isn't, and after all she did move to England, come on Liss!" I'm going insane; berserk, and I was talking so hastily that I didn't have time to breathe.
"Stop!" she screams and zooms in-front of my dresser as I rip my favorite mustard-yellow sundress out of its place. "Breathe, Mia, think about this, please, your mom might or might not be there, and she may or may not be alive."
"Liss! This is our chance to get away from everything, we're seniors, and we have finished our finals, we have a good education, and we're both going to be eighteen in a week! After that, we're free!" I'm almost about to have a heart attack. As I start on another monologue, my dad's hateful voice summons us.
"Dinner!" I hear, which awakens me from our conversation.
"Let's go eat," I whisper and start to walk, but Melissa was too scared to take a step. "He's leaving and won't be back until tomorrow, Liss, he has to work."
"Okay." she says quietly and shuts the laptop.
I start to walk, but I stop and hide the plane tickets under Liss' bag.
We walk down the tornado steps and my dad sets the plates down on the table.
"I won't be home until tomorrow, I have to..." he trails off.
"Work? Yeah, dad, you can stop playing the 'I have to work' card, I'm seventeen, almost eighteen. I know exactly what you're doing." I say furiously; putting the quotation marks in the air whenever I said "work".
"Amelia!" he shouts the same sound he always makes.
I grit my teeth at him as the vein on his bald forehead pumps out like a fruit basket filled with raspberries, but one banana remains on top.
"Bye," I say and walk into the kitchen, shutting the glass door and sitting down. "Bye, gigolo." I spit out.
Melissa laughs oddly, and I watch her horrified eyes as her baby blues follow him out the door. After I see his headlights pull out in the reflection of the window I stand up and we walk upstairs, bringing the food with us.
* * *
"Wake up!" I shake Melissa.
I look at the clock, it's 6:00 in the morning, our plane takes off at 8:20.
"Melissa! Wake up already!" I yelp and get another idea.
I begin to roll up a piece of paper, and lightly touch it to her ear.
"Ahh! Bug!" she screams and hits herself in her ear until she sees the paper fall out. "You're hilarious," I laugh.
"Come on!" I throw a pillow at her and go into the bathroom to get ready.
I brush my poker-straight brown hair, throw on a layer of mascara to make my browns "pop", as Melissa says, and I've never worn that stuff before, and finally put on the mustard yellow sundress that my dad had said my mom left for me.
* * *
"Excuse me, where is flight 135?" we ask a lady whom is mopping the floor. She points to the left, and there it is, the gateway to freedom.
"Thank you! Come on," I shout back to her, slightly arching my back, and we walk towards the empty looking area.
"Passports please," the smiling woman requests.
We hand them to her and her dangling hand flutters to direct us through the doors. I wave goodbye to LA for a final time.
We dawdle onto the plane and find our seats, discovering two cute boys facing ours.
I smile lightly and twitch to get my bangs out of my brown eyes.
"Hi," the one boy who's sitting across from me says.
I, once again, open my mouth to talk, but am in awe of his pale glowing skin that matches his dark chocolate colored hair, and his eyes contain the same color.
"Hi," I stutter slightly and smile.
"So, what's your name?" he asks and I notice his British accent.
"My name, right..." I blank until Melissa whispers, "Sorry, I um, I don't usually talk to guys, it's Amelia." I smile again.
"It's Ethan," he cackles to himself and continues his previous conversation, as I do so too, with the person sitting next to us.
* * *
We arrive in Groves and my jaw must be on the floor, it's incredibly gorgeous.The buildings look so mellow and sculpted until achieving perfection. I look over to see Melissa conversing with Ethan and his friend named Chris. I smile and as I do, Ethan walks over and hands me two things.
"Meet me at the gardens, tonight," he says to me as Melissa and I walk out of the airport and to our rental car and hands us a map.
He walks away, but turns around to smile. I gaze back, too, and simper, hearing Melissa giggle.
* * *
Everlasting hours are passing as we search for the gardens. We found a hotel, dropped off our belongings, and Melissa perfected many of my flaws and made me "sparkle". Literally. I have so many sparkles on me that if I weren't wearing any clothes, it wouldn't matter.
We continue the search until we turn onto a private road that has houses. No, mansions. No, palaces, and it never occurred to me that the biggest, most luxurious looking one would happen to be Ethan's. I could hardly see a house. The only objects I could make out are giant masts made up of leaves that were identical to each other, but beyond the hedges I see a small portion of his house; it looks beautiful. We pull onto the grey stones and park next to the other five cars, or well, limousines.
My eyes search up and down of the glowing castle, until my door swings open. I catch myself on the handle on the top right corner and shoot a poker face at Ethan, but it's washed away like chalk in a rainstorm, and replaced with a smile. I place my black flats on the ground and twirl in my elegant, purple dress that matches nicely with my curled brown hair. I then follow Ethan back behind his house with Chris and Melissa.
He calls it a garden, it's not a garden, it's a maze. It's filled with lavender flowers and beautifully healthy, well, everything.
"I have a gift for you," he says, "be right back!" he jumps up and leaves us clueless, or at least me.
"Melissa, did you say something?" I look to her and her face contains a hysterical look on it that I would photograph.
As I think about the word 'photograph', an invisible tear strolls down, I think of the only picture of my mother that I have, and it's with me. But I push negativity away, since I found happiness, for now, and focus on the moment.
We stand there, still ogling at each other until a flickering light ignites behind us and the garden lights up. He comes running back with a box.
"Back," he huffs.
"I see," I reply and he opens my palms and sets the box there.
I open it slowly and grab the plastic handle, I see myself in it. It's a mirror.
"What's this for?" I slightly laugh.
I look at Melissa and she nods and smiles.
"Go ahead, look in it," I do as he says, "what do you see?"
"Myself," I retaliate bitterly.
He chuckles and I focus. "You are not worthless, and you're not stupid, and you're certainly not a mistake." he guides me.
I feel a sudden optimism and vivacity take over my body, and the scars left over; the verbal wounds he left may never be healed, but they have been forgotten.
I lower the mirror and hug him tightly. "Thank you," I say.
The night goes on and freely ends on a high note.
The next morning, we awake in our beds. After my eyes adjust to a sudden brightness, I jump up and spread the curtains. I peer down to see the adorable shopping center, and a familiar face.
My smile turns to mush and my eyes widen to the maximum. I turn around and throw on a pair of jeans and a tank top; pushing passed Melissa on the way out of my room. Her face is filled with confusion and she starts after me. I hold my mother's picture and run to the front door.
"Mia?!" I hear Melissa shout, but I do not react.
I run out the revolving door and onto the street. A car is coming, but it's far enough. I charge onto the road and in the corner of my eye, I see Ethan coming for me, and looking completely flabbergasted. Tears are pouring like waterfalls down my cheeks and I'm gripping the frame so tightly that I'm almost afraid the glass will shatter into my stomach.
I see my mother; I know it's her.
"Mom!" I shout loudly.
It seems as if she turns her neck to see who called her, but she snaps it back and starts to run. I chase with determination.
"Mom!" I shout for the fifteenth time.
Only this time, she turns around and stares.
"Amelia," she says completely astonished, and walks towards me and pulls me into an embrace.
"I knew you weren't dead, but please, don't make me go back with him, please." I weep.
"You won't go back with him," she rocks me back and forth.
*Six years later*
The happiness I once longed for, that I would've stole if I had the chance, well, I now pass it on to others, and I no longer will pay attention to what anyone says about me, because I know who I am, and no one can tell me they know better than me, besides Ethan, Melissa, and mom. Whenever I look at the beautiful gardens, I feel like the one flower that was always droopy, and alone, but when I really think and consider all that I've been through, I notice that I'm just another one of the flowers in a bouquet. Speaking of flowers, we moved to Groves, and started fresh there.
I smile in my thoughts and walk passed Ethan's hedges to take a parade through the jungle of purples, pinks, and many other masqueraded flowers that overlap each other. I walk next to him and kiss his cheek sweetly.
"You know, you should write a song," he announces and smirks.
"About my life, good idea, and I think I know what I'd call it." I wrap my arms around his waist.
"What?" he questions curiously.
"According To You."