C'est la Vie

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Noelle, the bookworm, unwittingly caught the attention of Carter Stone- the most popular and dangerous guy in school. That attention comes with a price, and a TON of trouble!

Submitted: November 21, 2016

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Submitted: November 21, 2016

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Chapter One: Invisible

"Mom...." I swatted my moms hands away from my face impatiently. "Could you please stop?" I was working extra hard to squint at my textbook through her hands attempting to turn my face this way and that.  "Noelle- How are you going to get anyone to notice you if you look.... the way you do?"  I looked down at myself. Jeans, V neck, chucks.... What was so wrong? My mom seemed to think everything was wrong. We all couldn't be perfect saucepots like her, though. She was tall, tan legged with bleach blonde hair and hazel eyes. She could have been a model- in fact, she might have been for a while. Her hair was in perfectly placed beach waves, and her lips were pouty and feminine. Her boobs were done. Her stomach was flat. Her feet looked perfect in heels. My older sister picked up right where my mom left off. A regular Barbie doll. Me? I was petit. Pale. Had black curly hair. Black eyes. My feet were trashed from ballet. The only parts of my mom you could see in me were the cheeks and the lips, and even then, there were some serious differences. My lips were fuller- which my mom always said would be a valuable asset had I ever bothered to put lipstick on. I resembled my dad, which I think my mom secretly resented. Their relationship didn't end well.

My mom and sister were both social butterflies, attending parties with perfectly manicured hands wrapped around pink bubbly drinks, charming all the men in the room. People hovered around them, hoping the glow of the lights off their tan skin might somehow rub off on them, making them magically grow 5 inches or something.They, however, dubbed me the antisocial pessimist. In parties I tended to sit on the couch with my face in my phone, stuck between couples making out and young boys unable to hold their liquor, wondering how the fuck I got there in the first place. What I learned? Don't go to parties.

I was trying to get into the medical game, after all. I desperately wanted to get into Princeton, and was one scholarship, and year, away from doing just that. My last year of high school was packed with as much academic bling as I could get my hands on. That left very, VERY little time to do anything but read. Seriously. Sleep? Social life? Boys? With what time? It was in this moment that my mom was getting ready to go out, and was in my room gazing at herself in my full length mirror. It was probably the only action that thing ever got. I, on the other hand, was balls deep into a chapter about the do's and don'ts of necrotic tissue. My mom hovered around me anxiously. She had been trying to get me to go out with her for weeks now.

"You really do need to go out more. How are you ever going to find a boyfriend?" She asked, adjusting her dress. "Your sister is dating the Bukowskis boy."

I rolled my eyes "As if that's a catch..." I mumbled under my breath.

My mom shot me a look. "I'm just trying to do what's good for you, Noelle. Seriously... if you just put on some makeup and put on something that wasn't grey..."

I couldn't take it anymore. "OH! You're right!" I chirped, carefully closing my book. My mom looked taken aback. "Mom, I totally forgot that I have a date tonight." I tried to force a surprised and excited voice. There I was, lying out of my teeth just to get some peace and quite to study. Surprisingly enough, it worked. A look of joy spread across my moms face, followed by a frown of disapproval. "Not like that, you don't..." She disappeared into my closet. I squeezed my eyes shut. Sheer. Agony. She came out a moment later, a dress and heels in hand. I'd be damned if I had to go sit in a coffee shop wearing that just to read about necrotic tissue secondary to frostbite. "Get dressed and we'll work on your face. And hair. And...everything." She shot me a sickly sweet smile. It was go through this agony and get her off my back, or continue to have her hover over my shoulder, constantly questioning why I wanted to be more smart than I did pretty. Reluctantly I slipped into the dress while she prepared my vanity. She always had it stocked with various beauty products- most of which were unopened except for chapstick and mascara. It was one she bought me forever ago that I put in the back of my closet. It was strapless and white, made out of soft borderline see through muslin. The top was fitted, and the bottom was nothing but ruffles and lace. It reminded me of a cupcake. It stopped mid thigh, showing off the legs I earned with all my hard work en Pointe and at the barre.

With much reluctance, I was placed in front of the vanity. She started gingerly painting my face, babbling excitedly about how she couldn't wait to meet this boy. A prick of guilt hit me. She really was excited for this....I snapped out of it when she asked his name."Uh..." I stuttered, put on the spot. "His...name? He has a name! And it's a boys name, too." Shit.  My mom sensed the hesitation and filled in the blank for me. "Don't know if there's going to be a second date?" She laughed. "I did the same thing with my first boyfriend. My mom didn't know his name until date three." I smiled and nodded politely, not saying a word. If she was willing to fill the blanks in for me, I wouldn't say no. I didn't know if she was in denial or if she genuinely believed me, but I was running with it. There was no out at this point.  I felt my hair come down. It had gotten long over the summer, and hit the end of my rib cage. She ran her fingers gently through it, stepping back looking at her creation.

"No hair?" I looked at her blankly, surprised. She constantly fussed over her hair.

"No hair." She echoed back. "You've got your fathers curls.." She said softly. "No work necessary." Sadness filled her eyes for a split second before she grabbed my face, turning it this way and that, inspecting her work. "You really are beautiful, Noelle. Just a little rough around the edges." I gently tugged my face out of her hands. It was everything that happened between her and my dad that made me a little rougher around the edges. Especially my dads outcome in this all. I was doing the best I could to let things go, but it was tough. It was tough to be an empathetic and forgiving person. It was tough to handle life with grace. Really the only time grace was a part of my life was when my feet were in Pointe. She blended in some blush on my left cheek, and stood back. "Perfect!" She exclaimed with sheer joy. "Just don't touch your face or rub your eyes!" As if I would, anyway. I just finished reading about bacterial conjunctivitis a day or two ago. I was never going to touch my eyes again, with anything. "Thanks, mom." I gave her a  hug. She really did try her best. "Go get em'," She looked at her watch. "OH! I'm late. Don't expect me back until tomorrow, and make sure you wear your nice underwear!" She gave me a kiss on the cheek, and just like that she was gone. I sighed, looking at myself in the mirror. Sharp cheekbones and dewy lips, huh? There was a good five minute gap until I heard the door slam, and slipped the dress back off. On went the white v-neck and jeans. It was too chilly out for a dress. Autumn was already knocking on the door with gusts of cool wind and fallen leaves. It was almost cold enough for boots, honestly. So on went the mukluks. There was no staying here, my sister would be home soon, and she would rat in a heartbeat. Verona lived and breathed to torture me. Why? I'll never know. She was literally flawless and had every boy in the city falling all over her. I did my best to stay out of her way- with the exception of a thoughtful prank every now and again.

Without a thought I quickly stashed the dress I was supposed to be wearing at the bottom of my hamper. My books quickly made it into my bag along with my headphones. Not that I ever needed them at Le Moulin, but it was handy to have them just in case. I hustled out to my poor little car, and after a good five minutes of coaxing it let itself come to life with a cranky rumble. I let her warm up for a few minutes as a reward, while I rested my head on the headrest. With any luck I'd be to my favorite study nook without running into Verona or any of her friends. Sure enough, I managed to make it while only stalling once. A personal record! The little cafe I loved to study at was seriously off the beat and path. It was a small French Cafe that always smelt like strong fresh pressed coffee and cigarette smoke. People were quiet, careful to stay out of each others way. That's why I liked it truthfully. I threw my bag down and began to sprawl out at my usual table. Edith Piaf played quietly from a creaky old jukebox, and the gentle clinking of glasses blended in with boisterous French being spoken in the kitchen. This place was home to me. My dad was French, and the entire first 13 years of my life were pretty much- well, exclusively French. It was my first language, and from an early age I remember being completely surrounded by European culture. All of my family was in the villages surrounding Carcassonne, and so were most of my childhood memories.  I didn't move in with my mom until  the train wreck that is known as my parents divorce.... and the subsequent events.

 C'est une tragédie.

Despite all the memories this place brought back, it was more of a comfort than anything. My dad would have approved of it, had he been able to see the place. Usually if you minded your business, people minded their own.

"Well, well, well..... If it isn't little Miss Med-school." A low gravely voice cut through the tranquil sounds of Piaf and fine china clinking.

 I looked up to see the face of what was none other than Carter Stone. I guess today just wasn't usual.

 Now- just a background on Mr. Stone. The gentleman was in the same class as myself, and his reputation preceded him by many, many miles. If there was a heart to be broken, Carter would be the one to do it. If there was trouble, Carter was probably behind it. There wasn't a girl he couldn't get his hands on, and there wasn't a boy in our class he hadn't fought. There wasn't a teacher that hadn't tried to expel him, and there wasn't some major disaster he wasn't a part of.  The only reason he got away with as much as he did was because he was incredibly handsome, and incredibly smart. His hair was as dark as mine, but his eyes were a dewy hazel. Those eyes were the reason so many girls ended up in his bed. The rest of his face only got better. Masculine lips, a strong jaw, a strong straight nose and handsome cheekbones that gave way to smart hollows in his cheeks. It didn't help anything that he had deep dimples when he smiled. Many had summed him up to a young Marlon Brando due to his face and well... for lack of a better and more poetic phrase.... his god damned biceps. Carter Stone was pretty much the devil, and I avoided him like the plague. Where he was, I was going in the opposite direction.

  "Stone." I greeted him frostily, not bothering to look up from my textbook. I heard him sit down in the seat across from me. The scrape of the chair on the old wood floors was so uncharacteristic- normally my time here was spent alone. I didn't bother to make a sound, Princeton was far more attractive to me than the likes of Carter Stone. Any path that he was on would lead to an inferno of conundrum. I felt him looking at me, but didn't return his gaze.

"Are you like this with everyone, Med-School?" He asked, nonchalantly, picking up one of my textbooks and casually thumbing through it.

"I really don't know what you mean." I mumbled, doing my best to say as little as humanly possible.

He slammed the book shut, making me jump, almost losing my page.

"Cut the shit, Med-School. You know what I'm  talking about. All frosty-", I felt the book being yanked out of my  hands "And...frustrated."

I was forced to look him in the face. I guess my annoyance wasn't as casual as I thought it was.

"Give it back, Carter Stone. Give it back or so help me-"

"Or so help me?" He laughed. Carter Stone laughing was a dangerously beautiful thing. "What are you going to do, Med-School? Vomit facts about frostbite on me?" He chuckled again, reading the paragraph I was working on highlighting. "I might need this info if I stay at this table much longer." He pretended to shiver. "You're pretty much, how do you say- Une reine de glace?"

"Et vous êtes le diable." I shot back, attempting to snatch the book back from him. The temper that my father so graciously passed down was slowly starting to show itself.

Carter snatched the book back just in the nick of time, clicking his tongue.

"Si vulgaire!" He feigned hurt in his voice, sitting back in the chair. "Here I was just coming up to say hello."

I snatched the book out of his hands, and to my surprise he let me have it without much of a fight. How the hell did he know French? His accent wasn't actually half bad... No! Focus. I had to focus.

"Well hello, Carter. And goodbye." I shot back, trying to find the page I had just lost. Probably more aggressively than I should have.

Carter crossed his arms over his chest, leaning the chair back onto just the back legs.

"One day, Med-School. One day I'm going to get you to talk to me and tell me all your secrets."

I snorted, holding back sarcastic laugher. "Good luck with that." I rolled by eyes and bit the inside of my cheek. If my own mom didn't know my secrets, he sure as hell wasn't going to. I paused, attempting to keep from asking a question that was waiting right behind my teeth. I failed to suppress it, and before I could do or think anything, the burning question came tumbling past my teeth and out of my lips. "Do you even know my name?" I looked up from my textbook, staring him in the eyes for the first time. It was a challenging gaze- one that initiated a brief stare down.

"Your name?" He looked at me blankly. "It's Verona, right?"

Ouch.

"That would be my sister." I wasn't about to lie- that stung a little. Of course the most beautiful guy in school would know my sister, but not me. Thanks, Carter. Thank you for laying a hot steamer all over my ego. I receded back into myself a little more, bruised ego in  hand.

"Michelle?"

"No."

"Jessica?"

"No."

"....Cassandra?"

I blinked a couple times before wordlessly returning back to my reading. I knew that I was pretty much invisible to everyone besides the chess club, but this was an all time low. What bothered me most was that I cared so much about it.

"Ssssssssso.... you're not Cassandra are you?"

I returned his question with annoyance and a tension filled silence. By this time the seething inside of me was at an all time high. If I opened my mouth, the words that would come out were bound to be awful.

"I'M Cassandra." An overly sugary voice called from behind him. There she was- captain of the cheer squad in all her glory, standing with her arms crossed and all her weight shifted to one leg. Laser beams were pretty much shooting out of her eyes and penetrating right through my textbook- attempting to liquefy my intestines.

"Of course, baby. I was just- you know. Teasing." Carter said smoothly, standing up from the table. Truthfully I think he had forgotten her name until she said it.

"This isn't over- Med-School." He hissed, before walking up to what I assumed to be his date. He wrapped a sturdy arm around her waist and kissed her forehead, cooing something into her ear that made her blush and that made me want to vomit.

She giggled as he turned to walk them to their table- but as soon as his back was turned the laser beams shot back out of her eyes at me one last time.

So much for studying. Without another moments hesitation all 25 pounds of my textbooks were tossed into my backpack and I was heading out the door. I was back to being invisible- Carter was busy trying to feel his dates thighs, and Cassandra was no longer trying to set me on fire with her eyes.

I stalled my poor car more than usual on the way home, and bounded up to my room before Verona had a chance to torment me. The weight of my backpack fell off my shoulders and onto the floor, and the weight of my body fell backwards onto my bed. The ceiling that was so used to being stared at provided a welcome relief to my eyes. Before I could control the words, they came out into the dim light of my room, more loudly than I had anticipated.

"My name is NOELLE!"

 

 

 


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