I shivered as I impatiently waited for the poorly rolled up marijuana to return to me. I was sitting in a trash-collecting ally way with my so-called friends. They were taking their turns inhaling the substance that I was so strongly addicted to. I heard distant sirens and angry yelling in the streets of Los Angeles, California. I was so intent on getting my turn that I didn’t realize the sirens were getting closer. Right as I reached out for the joint I heard a car pull onto the street. The sirens were now making my ears ring.
"Cops! Joanne, Nicole, run!" Nathan yelled.
We all quickly stood up and ran as the men in the blue uniforms got out of their car. We were too dumb to realize there was no other way out of the ally. It was a dead end. The men came closer and trapped us. We all stupidly charged into the wall. I knew it was there but I didn’t bother to stop, my friends apparently had the same idea. Then it finally occurred to me that we were caught, again. This time they weren’t going to let me off with a warning. This time I was going to court to be sentenced to jail.
The younger looking policeman grabbed me and pinned me against the red brick wall.
"Are you going to fight me?" he asked.
I sighed. "No, I’m not going to fight you sir." I replied.
"Thank you for your cooperation." He said, kind of politely. He let me from the painful hold and handcuffed me. Then he led me to the police cruiser that waited with open doors. I looked back and saw Joanne and Nathan struggling and cursing against the other man who was trying to contain them. The young man put me in the car and closed the door.
Then he ran back to help the older man. It was frightening to see the men have to knock out Nathan. That was when Joanne finally gave up her struggle. She wasn’t going anywhere Nathan wasn’t going to be. She and Nathan had been together since the eighth grade. The young one picked up Nathan and slung him over his shoulder. The other one led Joanne back to the car. She gave me a dirty look as she approached. I scooted to the far end of the black vinyl seat so there was room for the others.
Joanne threw herself in the back. She moved over until she was beside me. Then they added Nathan who was still unconscious. He leaned over and rested on Joanne’s shoulder. He seemed almost lifeless. She carefully shook him off until he slid off her shoulder and onto her lap.
"Nathan, are you okay?" she whispered.
"He’s out cold, he’s probably not going to wake up for a few hours." I said.
She swung her head around to look at me. She glared for a moment. "If you hadn’t given up so easily we may have had a chance to escape." She said harshly.
"Yeah, like we did last time?" I asked sarcastically. She gave me a fierce shove into the door.
"Knock it off, Joanne. We’re caught and that’s that. Killing me isn’t going to change the fact that we’re going to jail." I snapped.
"I never said it would." She replied.
It took maybe thirty minutes to get to the police station where we would be staying the night.
Of course the only other place we had to go was an abandoned factory. It had been our home for the past week. It had started raining on the way. The skies seemed impossibly darker than before. They polluted the sky with a mysterious dark gray that seemed almost angry. It was weird how the earth noticed how I felt. It described it for me in the way it painted itself with an angry swirl. The car pulled over beside the concrete sidewalk that was stained with cracks. The large cracks allowed weeds to break through and show their ugly display of dull colors.
The policemen came around to haul us out. The young one heaved Nathan over his shoulder as he had done before. The older one led Joanne and I to the dark blue building with chipping paint. Through it you could see the bricks the painters had tried to cover up. They took us into a white room that gave you a migraine if you stayed in there too long. They checked us for drugs then took away our jewelry and coats. The young police officer threw Nathan onto the rotten smelling bed. The smell was similar to a sewer mixed with hairspray kind of odor. They must have sprayed it with some cheap air freshener.
They led Joanne and I into the cell then locked us up. I sat down in the corner that was made completely of bars. I then rested my head against the poor looking black steel bars. I sat there for about a half hour until someone walked over to me. I saw the color black standing beside me in two straight lines. Black buffed shoes met the ends of them. I looked up to see the face that was connected to the body. It was the younger police officer.
He knelt down beside me.
"Hi, I’m Emmett." He said and held his hand through the bar for me to shake it. I looked at it in disbelief for a moment then looked at him like he was insane, which was true.
"Did you want something?" I asked, annoyed. He pulled his hand away.
"I just wanted to say hi." He replied.
"Hello, it’s nice to meet you. Now goodbye." I said then let my head rest against the bars again.
"Your name is Nicole right?" he said, ignoring my rude comment. Was this guy for real?
"Yes, my name is Nicole."
"You’re ID says you’re only twenty."
"So why do you chose to throw your life away like this?"
"I honestly don’t know. Why do you care?"
"I care because I find it disturbing to see a young girl waste away. You could do so much with yourself. Drugs aren’t the only option."
"You call me a young girl, you don’t look that old yourself." I noted. His thick, brown hair was at an appropriate length. His eyes were colored a leaf green. They were very extraordinary. His features were soft and his skin was a dark tan color and had a cream texture. He was a very handsome, boy.
"I am older than you." He stated.
"Just how much older?" I asked. He let his head fall.
"Three years." He mumbled, a little embarrassed.
"Uh, huh. That makes a huge difference."
"I may not be much older than you, but I’ve seen a lot of girls like you. It always ends the same. Dead in the street, or dead in some crappy apartment that was falling down around them. It would be nice to see one person turn out different."
"Why do you keep calling me a girl? I would consider myself a woman."
He shook his head.
"The definition of a woman is a female who chooses to be responsible and take consequences of her actions. Not a female who sits in an ally way marked with death inhaling ‘God knows what."
"Well, that’s your definition."
"What is yours?"
I didn’t reply. This, boy was infuriating me. I rolled my eyes then closed them.
"Leave me be. If I decide to end up dead in the street, then it was my decision. No reason to feel guilty."
"I never said I felt guilty." He replied in a harsh tone. I opened my eyes and watched him walk away.
About a week passed and Emmett talked to me everyday. Sometimes I was courteous, other times I would yell and curse at him to leave me alone. It finally came time to be brought before a judge so I could be sentenced to the rat-hole these people had the nerve to call jail. Emmett led me inside. He seemed to be glued to me sometimes. He was determined to make my life even more miserable by lecturing me about my use of drugs. I was lucky to discover there were some left over that Joanne sneaked in. Emmett brought me to the front of the old-fashioned courtroom.
In front of me was the judge who was dressed in a traditional black robe. He had pure white hair and it was obvious to tell that he was at least in his late sixties. Emmett sat me down in a chair on the defense side of the court. We were the only ones in the room. The judge picked up some papers that lay in front of him.
"I understand this is your third offense." He said then looked at me.
"Yes sir." I said, not at all ashamed.
"Officer Emmett talked to me and I agreed to put you on probation. You are sentenced to six weeks of rehab first. Then you will be on a one-year probation trial. If you are caught having any contact with drugs or accused of leaving the state of California, you will be sentenced to five or more years in the city jail. If you do wish to leave the state of California you must consult with your probation officer, Emmett here, and he must first have permission from me."
"Wait, you’re making this idiot my probation officer? I’m still stuck with Emily?" I asked angrily. Even though it was out of line for a courtroom, I saw the judge trying to hold back a smile. I wasn’t certain whether he was laughing at Emmett or me though. "Yes that is correct, case closed. Court dismissed." He said then banged his stupid wooden gavel on the flat wooden surface. The sound flew out through the room. I turned to see that Emmett had a smug smile on his ugly face directed at me.
I wanted to rip his hair out of his pretty little head. Too bad I was hand cuffed. Emily led me back outside to the police car. I unwillingly forced my self into the back. Instead of taking me back to the rotten smelling cage I had spent the last week in, we arrived at a place that almost looked like a hospital. It was the rehab center. I ground my teeth together. This was so moronic. I’m pretty sure I would rather rot in jail than stand this "everyone is happy" place.
Emmett let me out of the back and led me inside. The place was not at all what I expected, it was worse. Right as you entered there was a blonde girl manning the desk smiling like an idiot. Emmett signed me in. As I waited I observed tan walls and wooden floors freshly waxed. A pine sent filled my nostrils. Then finally the girl led us to a door and took us past a group of people who were sitting in a circle talking. It all looked like a camp. All of the employees were clothed in jeans and bright yellow shirts. It was disgusting the way they all tried to act happy.
The residents were actually laughing and smiling, although I did spot some moping by them selves. We followed the girl up some stairs and down a hallway. The very last room on the left was meant to be mine. After she unlocked it I searched for some interest in the room. It was very plain. White walls, tan carpeted floors, violet colored bed sheets, one green lamp on the end table by the bed. She showed where the bathroom was then the dresser and told us other useless information she had been trained to give us. After about ten minutes of a boring tour through the small room she left so I could get "situated" in the room. Emmett finally unhand cuffed me. I took off my large coat then threw it on the floor. Then I stumbled to the bed and lay down.
I became annoyed when I saw that Emmett had not left yet.
"You can leave now. I’m sure Barbie can handle things from here." I said finally as he stood staring into space. He looked at me then smiled.
"I think you’re going to be different. You’re going to make it." He said.
"I think you should leave now. By the way, don’t hold your breath. I’m the last person you should put your faith in." I commented.
"I hope not. I really want you to live past thirty." He said. I would have replied with a sarcastic remark, but I couldn’t seem to make the words leave my lips. The way he looked at me was longingly. Like he really did hope I would be different. I fumbled through my brain and finally came up with the question.
"Why?" I whispered. His eyes were sad.
"I would really hate to see you dead. Really hate it." I couldn’t respond. He looked down at the ground like he was embarrassed.
"I should go. I’ll be back soon." He promised. I was suddenly sitting up.
"How soon?" I asked, a little too eager. He looked at me and smiled a crooked grin. I quickly added,
"I need to know how long I’ll be able to stay away from a headache." I knew it wasn’t very convincing. Emmett continued to smile.
"I’ll be back in few days. You can hold on till then, right?" he asked just to annoy me.
I rolled my eyes.
"I think I can bear it." I replied sarcastically. He smiled even bigger.
"Farewell, Nicole." He said smugly then left the room. I already knew he had some stupid crush on me, but now he thought I liked him. Well, when he came back I would just have to set the record straight.
My plans were stupid. I hadn’t calculated in that I would be sick. The stupid nurse employee informed me that my body was getting used to not having the toxins.
When Emmett came back, I was lying on my bed sweating buckets and screaming. I saw a terrified look on his face, as he stood there helpless when I kept throwing my head back and forth while clutching the blankets in both hands. I was sick beyond reason. I was constantly throwing up and I felt like crap. I didn’t want him here, but he refused to leave. I was sick for six days. Emmett came everyday and watched as I puked my guts out and coughed and screamed.
When I finally recovered the nurses forced chicken broth down my throat. I hadn’t kept anything down. Emmett continued to visit daily. I knew it wasn’t to make sure I wasn’t doing drugs. One day he sat in a padded chair beside my bed one afternoon about three days after the horrible sickness. He sat by me as I lay in bed staring at the wall. I could tell he was worried. I could see him staring at me out of the corner of my eye.
I was used to him by now. He had stared at me like this everyday. I was growing immune to it. He looked at me intensely waiting for me to say something. There was nothing to say. Finally after about twenty minutes he spoke.
"Are you feeling okay?" he asked.
"No." I replied keeping my eyes still on the blank wall.
"Do you need me to get the trash can so you can throw up?"
"Are you hot?"
"Does you’re stomach hurt?"
"How much longer are you going to do this? You don’t have to stay. You really only have to check on me once a week according to court orders."
"I want to be here."
"Yeah, so do I." I replied sarcastically. I Finally met his gaze. The look in his eyes was indescribable. It was creepy too.
"Would you stop looking at me like that?" I asked infuriated.
"Like what?" he asked.
"The look you’re giving me right now. It’s starting to give me the creeps. Knock it off." I said, frowning. He looked at the floor.
"Sorry." He muttered while twirling his thumbs.
Two weeks passed and Emmett started to visit less and less. That was when I met Ben. Ben was facing the same problem I was. He didn’t want to be here either. He was tall man of age twenty-seven. He had charcoal black hair, and pale skin. He was very skinny. I sat in the lobby talking with him.
"This is stupid. I’m going to start doing drugs again the minute they let me out of here." I promised.
"Why?" he asked. I looked at Ben in disbelief.
"You’re not?" I asked, surprised.
"Look, I hate this place as much as you do, but I have learned something. I can turn my life around. I don’t have to go back to stealing food and living on the street. I can have a home and a family, a good job. Things can be different. Life can be better. If you can have all that, why go back to your crappy life style?"
"I liked my life."
"Oh really? You enjoyed freezing your butt off, while waiting for the joint to get back to you as your friends their turn sucking on it? You enjoyed hoping you would have somewhere safe to sleep at night? You enjoyed watching people eat a big steak dinner through a restaurant window while your stomach was growling? You enjoyed knowing this was your entire fault and now you have no hope? You have a shot now. You don’t have to go back to all that. There’s a chance to start over. You even have a man who’s madly in love with you and who is willing to help you through it all. Willing to help you get back on your feet."
"Who is in love with me?"
"What do you mean who? Emmett, of course. You didn’t know?"
"No, how do you know?"
"I talked to him last week. He was waiting for the employees to let him go up to your room. He told me everything. He thought you knew. I guess you burned up a lot more brain cells than I thought."
"I knew he liked me, but I didn’t know he was in love with me. What exactly did he say?"
"He said that since the first time he saw you he knew you were the one. He said he wanted to help you, and he told me how worried he was about you."
"This doesn’t make sense."
"I think you love Emmett back."
"Well you’re wrong."
"I’ve seen how excited you are on the days he’s coming to visit. You know, he stopped visiting so often because you hurt his feelings."
"I don’t care if I hurt his feelings."
"You’re a bad liar."
"I’m not lying."
"You just keep telling yourself that." Before I could respond Ben stood up and walked off. I felt a rush of rage go through me. Mainly because I knew he was right. I was also mad at myself for being so stupid. I should have known.
My time is up! Six weeks have passed. I can finally leave as soon as I pass a special test. I admit I haven’t talked to Emmett yet. So he doesn’t know that Ben told me about his love for me that I already supposedly know about. I really don’t care; I just want to get out of this place so I can get my drugs. I’ve already set up a deal with a guy who left a week ago and was going back into drug dealing. The test I took was unbelievably easy.
You just write what they want to hear. I was going to be able to leave the following day. It was back to the street, and back to my beloved drugs. I excitedly packed up what little I had. I heard a knock on my door as I packed. I skipped to the door, which I have to admit was very childish. I opened it to see Ben standing there. He still had another month here.
"Hi Ben!" I said cheerfully.
"Hello, Nicole. I need to speak to you."
"Sure, c’mon in." He came in and walked over to my bed then sat down. He patted the part next to him. I closed the door and calmly walked to the bed like a mature adult. I sat down beside him and smiled.
"So what’s up?" I asked.
"Are you going to take my advice?" he asked. I groaned and looked up at the ceiling.
"Don’t worry about what I do. You just worry about yourself." I said then patted his leg. I let my head fall back down to look at him while grinning. His expression was serious. Mine became so.
"I’m serious, there’s no need to worry about me."
"You’re going to keep doing it. Fine, I didn’t want to do this, but you leave me no choice. If you don’t promise to stop doing drugs I’m going to tell Emmett that you are doing them then you’ll go to jail."
"I won’t if you promise me."
"Okay, okay! I promise, I won’t do anymore drugs." I said quickly.
"Good, but Emmett isn’t here yet." He said then smiled slyly. I rolled my eyes.
"Good one." I complemented. He held up his hand and I gave him a high five.
"I thought about what you said and I realized you were right. I have a chance to start over and I should take it." I lied.
"I’m glad you did." He said then held out his arms. I leaned in and gave him a hug.
"Thanks for talking to me. You’re a good friend." I said. He squeezed me then let go.
"Thanks. So have you talked to Emmett?"
"I really don’t think it’s necessary."
"You really don’t think. This is important Nicole, he loves you."
"Yes, I know."
"So are you just going to blow him off?"
"I don’t know Ben. I really don’t think I want to do this. I don’t love him."
"Here goes the lying again. You’re just afraid to make a commitment."
"So what? It’s my life. I really wish you wouldn’t try to control it."
"I’m not trying to control your life, I’m trying to knock some sense into you. Here it is, you…love…Emmett. Just get that through your thick skull."
"Alright, alright! I confess I love Emmett. What now? What do I tell him? What if I screw up and hurt him? What then? I am no good for him! You know it as well as I do."
"Then you make yourself good enough. No one starts at the top. Love is about being flexible. So be flexible for Emmett."
"Ben, please leave. I need time alone to think."
"Okay, I’ll give you you’re time, but remember what I said."
"Yes, yes. I remember, now go!"
"Okay pushy, I’m leaving, but make up your mind fast."
"You’ll see." With that he got up and left the room once again making me angry. Oh well. I lay down on the bed letting all of the information go through my head. Why did he say I needed to make up my mind fast? Was I on a time limit? Then there was another knock at the door. I once again got up and answered it.
This time without skipping, it was Emmett. He smiled at me and let himself in. I shut the door then dragged myself over by my bed. I stood in front of Emmett who was also standing. He seemed preoccupied.
"So where am I supposed to go?" I asked realizing I didn’t have a home.
"I was just goingto talk to you about that." He said.
He took a deep breath then looked me straight in the eyes.
"I need to ask you a very important question." He said.
"Shoot." I replied.
"Do you love me?" he asked. I sighed.
"Yes, I do."
"Then I have another question to ask you." He did something that I did not expect at all. He got down on one knee then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box. I felt my mouth fall open.
"You’re joking right?" I asked. He ignored my question. He opened the box to reveal an engagement ring.
"Will you marry me?" he asked. I didn’t know what to say. I loved him, but this was ridiculous. I hadn’t even known him for a year. This was the moment of truth. Will I marry him?
I knew it was a street close by. It was called Weeding St. I thought it was a really stupid name though. Kind of obvious if you ask me. I finally found the street and started searching for the house. Big, blue house was what he’d said. I didn’t see a big, blue house. I kept walking eager to find the house.
Inside that house were my drugs. I craved them so much. I kept searching the street until I finally spotted it. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it before. It stuck out like a sore thumb on this dumpy street. The only house that didn’t look like it would topple over any second. It wasn’t that great either. The paint was wearing off and the wood seemed to be rotting away.
I ran to the porch and up the steps not caring if I fell through. I needed to get inside the house. They held up though. I hastily knocked on the door. Someone opened it slightly. A familiar face showed itself. A face I had seen at the rehab center. It was my dealer. He smiled at me mischievously. I nodded back.
"It’s about time you got here." He said.
"This street isn’t exactly easy to find."
"I’m glad you could make it."
"Sure, sure. Look, I’ve got to tell you something. The deal’s off."
He opened the door all the way then stepped outside. His smile was now gone.
"What do you mean the deal is off?" he asked angrily.
"I mean I don’t want the drugs. I made a promise to a friend, and I intend to keep that promise."
"I need that money!" he yelled.
"You’ll just have to get it from someone else." I said. I started to turn then I felt a hand clutch my arm. He spun me around.
"No! We made a deal!"
"These deals are never official. My plans changed." He pulled a hand back and swung it forward. It stung against the side of my face. "Either give me the money, or I’m going to beat it out of you!" He threatened. Now I was scared. I had the money, but I didn’t intend on spending it on this. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet. I pulled out the five hundred dollars in cash.
I thrust it at him.
"Here you jerk!" I screamed. He snatched the money then fanned it out with one hand. He counted it for a moment then let go. He shoved the bag of weed at me.
"I don’t want it!" I said then shoved it back at him. He shrugged. "Fine, have it your way." He said then pocketed it.
He then gave me a big push so I fell and landed on the stairs. He laughed then turned and went into the house. I lay there in pain. It felt like my arm was broken. I felt a bulging on my noggin and my eye hurt. I hoped I didn’t have a black eye. I carefully stood up then started to make my way to the road. My leg ached.
I had landed on it wrong. I started limping to the road. I was almost not surprised when a familiar cop car pulled up with the siren on. It was Emmett of course. He was going to be furious. He’d told me not to come down here, to blow the guy off. I thought I was doing the right thing. He was going to be even more upset when he saw me bruised up.
He was about to be a raging fiance.
"So I get a call saying someone on Weeding Street is harassing a female about 5’ 2", brown hair, slim, and pale. The male was described to be about 6’ 3", blonde hair, fit, and a dark tanned color. The first thing that pops into my mind is that my fiance went behind my back to tell the drug dealer she wasn't interested." He looked at me then.
"Look here. I was right." He said through gritted teeth. He pulled me toward the street in the direction of the police cruiser. He pointed a finger toward it.
"Go get in the car! I’ll be right back." Terrified by his mood, I did as I was told for once. I limped to the car and sat in the front.
It wasn’t two minutes before Emmett was hoisting the dealer out of the house and to the car. I remembered my plans at first when Emmett proposed to me. Say no, and you can still get your drugs. I knew if I said yes, I was done with them for good. I didn’t want to give them up though. It was the following day when I was walking down the street I realized what I was doing. I had a choice between some drugs and Emmett. I had picked the drugs. I had chosen the drugs to be the love of my life!
What an idiot! I started running toward the police station immediately and told Emmett I wanted to marry him. I thought it was kind of weird that I was engaged to someone I hadn’t even kissed yet. Whatever. Emmett shoved the guy into the back and shut the door. He then shut my door. I watched as he stomped to the driver’s side and forced himself into the seat.
"So how much trouble am I in?" I asked.
"Heaps! So much trouble." He emphasized. So I screwed up. Wouldn’t be the first time, wouldn’t be the last. Don’t think this story has a sad ending. I learned something. I would rather be sitting here now with Emmett furious at me than be sitting in a cold ally way waiting for my turn to smoke some cheap weed. Life has options; just wait for the opening doors. Or open your own.