I woke up extremely hot. And I’m not saying that I woke up feeling sexy – or like P. Diddy – but I woke up very hot, my skin on fire like I had a fever.
“You do have one,” A voice entered my head, and I could feel myself wake up completely.
My eyes slowly opened, and I turned to the left, addressing the voice. It was Dre, and I flinched back once I finally saw him. Usually, his eyes were a deep golden brown, but now they looked red. Glowing red, like a cat’s.
“Oh,” He mumbled. He blinked, and his eyes turned back to normal.
I didn’t have the energy to process what I had just seen. I was too tired, too hot, too sluggish to move. “W-where am I?” I could feel myself mumble, although I didn’t even feel like I was the one saying. “What’s going on?”
“You’re sick,” Dre said simply, and then turned away from me. I watched, my eyes in tired slits as I watched him. He walked over to his desk and started writing stuff down, his hands continuously raking through his hair.
Despite my tiredness, I tried to recall what happened before I fell asleep. “Dre, did we kiss?”
He paused for a second, and his muscles tensed as his back straightened into a perfectly straight line. “Yeah, we did. I’m the one who got you sick.”
“Did you give me mono? Because my mom’s gonna be pissed if I have mono,” I said, although I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was really saying.
Dre chuckled, despite his serious demeanor, and then turned back serious. “No, it’s not mono. You’re going through a…change of some sorts. It’ll be over in a few days.”
“A few days?” I echoed out loud, although I meant to keep it in my mind. “But, we have school on Monday. Am I gonna have to miss school?”
“Sorta,” He said, and didn’t go any further.
“Dre?” I said his name in a question, asking for permission but not exactly saying so out loud.
This time, he actually stopped and swiveled around to face me in his chair. “Yeah?” He sounded worried, and I was glad because some of his emotion was finally starting to come back.
“When I said I love you, and you said you loved me back, was it because you’ve loved me all along? Like I have?” Even though my mind was trying to wake me up and tell me that this was an extremely important question, I could feel my eyes slowly starting to close and my tone became nonchalant.
“Yes, Mel,” He said quietly. He looked me straight into my eyes, which were about a centimeter from closing. I guessed he thought I was asleep because he said, “I never wanted to bring you into all of this. I wish you didn’t love me.”
By then, my eyes were fully closed, but I could hear him loud and clear. I struggled so hard to wake myself back up, I could feel my legs shake in attempt to wake myself up. But then, I could feel Dre’s presence next to me. He put his cool lips to my hot ones, sending a scorching flame through my entire face. In a way, I enjoyed it, but in another way, it was painful. Like if a bullet grazed my bottom lip.
How amusing. Shot by the bullet of love.
“Yes, yes, my sweet! Awake for your creator!” A Dr. Jekyll or Dr. Frankenstein-looking dude said.
Where in the hell am I? I asked myself. I looked around, and realized that I was strapped to a white operating table, complete with the whole being bound with metal braces around my forehead, wrists, mid-section, and ankles. My eyes widened in confusion and panic, and I struggled to turn to the weird Dr. dude.
“Uh, listen dude, I don’t know if anyone has informed of you this, but just because you have the title “Dr.” doesn’t mean you can just kidnap teenage girls,” I paused for a second, as if I have to think about it. “If you were Dr. Dre, now that would be a different story.”
He just laughed this weird, creepy laugh, and pulled a long needle from his front lab coat pocket. I instantly shrunk back, but he walked towards me even closer.
“This will only hurt a little, my sweet,” He whispered as he edged closer to me. I could see a faint gleam in his eyes, which gave me the sense that this guy wasn’t exactly sane.
“Bitch, what do you think you’re doing?” I said, even more panicked as he edged the needle towards my forehead. When I was panicked and angry at the same time, it usually resulted in me cussing at someone. This was a perfect example: dealing with a Dr. Jekyll/Dr. Hyde mixed with Dr. Frankenstein scientist wannabe.
“Shh,” He urged me as he pressed his finger against his lips, his dark gray eyes shimmering with…insanity.
“No, n-no, I, uh…” My words came out in a slur as he jammed the needle right into my forehead, and everything became blurry. My tongue suddenly felt too big and wide in my tongue as I struggled to keep it inside my mouth.
He smiled at me one more time. “It’s okay, Melita. You’ll understand my reasons soon enough.”
That sparked the anger in me. Yeah, I guess besides Mya, I’m the calmest person in the Young family. But that doesn’t mean I can’t adopt the angry wrath of my dad or Marshall when I get mad enough. Mya’s hadn’t developed yet, but I was sure when she got older, she would probably adopt some of my panic-attack having tendencies and some of Marshall’s anger problems.
Plus, all of our cuss words.
“I…don’t…have…to…do…anything,” I growled, and I could feel the weird green vein popping out my forehead whenever I got mad. I lifted my neck as far as it could go – no longer held back whatever drug he just injected into my system – and felt a raging feeling of fury storm through me. I stared at him, until I felt a bubbling sensation through my tied limbs.
Before I could comprehend what was happening, the sink behind all his lab tables exploded with water rushing out of the spout and drain like a fountain. Every single beaker filled with chemicals bubbled up and spilled over, created a foamy mess on the floor. The walls were metal, and I could hear the creaking pipes inside burst open and water spilled from every directions.
The scientist looked around, his face an astonished and surprised look written across his face. He turned back towards me, and I could see fear in his eyes. “You…” He breathed the word like it was a curse.
An evil smirk crept its way across my face. “You shouldn’t have pissed me off.” I growled, and the pieces of metal holding me broke apart, leaving my limbs red and raw, but I barely felt a thing. I dangled my feet over the edge of the table and slid off so that I was standing right in front of the scientist. I held my hand out as if I were about to choke him, and a spurting fountain of water opened under him, and he disappeared underneath through the hole created by the water.
I looked around me as the entire lab began to flood with water. Glorious water. I tilted my head back and let the spurting drops land gently on my neck. Soon, it was up to my waist, and I felt as though something new had been born into me. I looked down and saw that my body was covered in a short dress that hung off one of my shoulders, creating a light blue film – the kind of blue my scabs had been the color of – across my body.
“Guess who’s back?” The thought echoed through my head and I said it out loud.
“Frankenstein!” The name left my lips before I could protest or stop. My eyes flew open, and I hoisted myself onto my elbows, looking around. I instantly recognized the room as Dre’s, even though this was only like my second time there.
“Mel?!” Dre came bursting in through the door, his dark hair ruffled and out of place. His wild eyes finally focused onto me, and walked over, his hand resting next to my hip. “You alright?”
I looked up at Dre’s face, suddenly feeling the cold sweat roll down my back. Gross, I was sweating in Dre’s bed. But then again, I was I in his bed. Man, that made me sound like a perv.
“I-I’m fine,” I stuttered, unable to comprehend what was going on. The last thing I remembered was wanting to sneak over here to talk to Dre. But why? I couldn’t remember…
He smoothed back the hair from my wet forehead – gross – and sat down next to me. He took in a deep sigh, like he had grown so old in just a few days. Dre went through a lot of stuff that no one his age should go through, but he just seemed more tired than usual. More sluggish.
I decided to get his mind off of me, although it was kind of awkward since he was sitting right there, absent mindedly tracing circles on my arm.
“How long have I been over here?” I asked, my eyes slowly swiveling to the clock. It read 5:17 AM. Damn. It was still Saturday.
“Well, you came at like 3 in the morning on Saturday, and now it’s 5:17, so it’s only been a couple of hours.” He said thoughtfully, giving me a little smile, one of my favorites.
“Thanks for taking care of me,” I added carefully, trying to gauge his reaction. I could tell that the smile he gave me was just for show; for me not to worry. It didn’t keep me from still worrying, though.
He turned, feeling my gaze on him. “How you feel?” He asked.
“Fine,” I added. “Tired, confused, still a little hot.” I admitted.
Dre reached his hand down to slowly stroke my forehead, my brain taking the chance to realize his fingers lingering against my skin. “It’s okay, it’ll pass over in a little while.”
I took his fingers into my hand, not really examining anything, really. I kissed the tips, and rest his hand against my cheek. “Oh, Dre,” I sighed. “What am I gonna do with you?”
I laughed when he arched his left eyebrow in sarcasm. “Me?” He said, sounding astonished. “I’m not the one who came to your house and started making out with you. That was you, Mel.”
I lifted myself on my elbows once again, propping myself up so that I was eye level with Dre. “Well, when you’ve loved someone as long as I’ve loved you, you do some pretty crazy shit,” I said playfully, but my eyes were still serious. I stared into Dre’s eyes, not really knowing what I was searching for.
“Loved?” He echoed, his voice just a whisper. Instead of looking into my eyes like I was doing to him, he was staring at my lips. I wanted to know what he was thinking, then, what he thought of my lips. ‘Cause he wanted them, he could have them. But that included the whole package.
“You loved me, as in you don’t love me now?” He asked, his eyes finally settling onto mine.
A sudden feeling of shyness crept over me. “Do you not want me to?”
“I always do,” He said, and began leaning towards me. Before I knew it, our faces were an inch apart, and then my arms were around his neck as he held me tightly against my waist.
“Why’d you make me wait so long?” He breathed right into my ear, as my finger scratched against his back.
I was surprised by the sudden intensity of the moment, and I could feel myself tighten my grip against him. We weren’t even kissing, but it felt like we were. Or at least, it was heading there.
“I had to make sure,” I whispered back, in amazement as I watched my fingers creep up his shirt.
“That I loved you?” Suddenly, the moment was broken, and Dre was pulling away from me. He pushed me back a little and stood up, looking down at me on the bed. “How was it not obvious, Mel? I spent all the time I could with you.” He said, like the idea of him not knowing he loved me was ludicrous.
Why was he freaking out now? What was going on? “Yeah, but I do the same thing with Brite,” I said, referring to his earlier comment.
“But Brite is a girl,” He countered, his eyebrows drawn together, giving him a frustrated expression.
“Dre, you never even made a move on me!” I said, getting angry now. I was up from the bed, poking him in the chest and yelling in his face. “You’ve never asked me out, you never tried to kiss except for that one time, and you never showed anything besides friendly interest to me. So don’t try to spin this around on me!”
He crossed his arms, making the veins in them look even tenser. “Mel, I just FIGURED that you would figure you out. I’m friends with Brite, and I don’t pay that much attention to her.”
I could almost pull my hair out at this point. “Are you being serious?” I wasn’t holding anything back now. “I shouldn’t have to figure anything out; maybe you should just grow some balls!” I yelled, completely furious.
“OBVIOUSLY YOU KNOW I HAVE BALLS BECAUSE YOU SAW THEM LAST NIGHT.” He said very loudly, but not exactly shouting like I was.
“I— wait, what?” My voice was a whisper. I tried to think about what happened last night. So I had come to talk to Dre, but ended up kissing him, and then, oh God…
“W-we had s—,” I stuttered.
“No,” Dre said blatantly, cutting me off. “I stopped, at the right time. But it wasn’t me, per se, because you fell asleep.” He said the last part in embarrassment, his cheeks turning red.
Suddenly, I wasn’t so angry anymore. I put my hand to my mouth, my eyes were round with shock. “Oh my gosh, Dre, no!” I gasped. “I didn’t fall asleep because I wasn’t you know, ‘in the mood’, it was because I was just tired because I’ve gotten like three hours of sleep this week.”
A relieved expressed crossed against Dre’s face. “Really?” He said, astonished. “I wasn’t a bad kisser or anything?”
I shook my head. “Nope, it was all me,” I assured him.
“Thank God,” He muttered, and sat down on the bed. He gathered his head in his head in his hands, like he was trying to keep himself from collapsing.
I sat down next to him, rubbing his back in reassurance. “Dre, you’re an absolutely wonderful kisser!” I thought of the second time I had kissed him, in the 7 Eleven before I passed out. A smile crossed my face. “A wonderful kisser.” I admitted again, getting lost in the memory.
Dre lifted his head up to give me a small smile. “Thanks, I really appreciate.”
“You’re wel—,” I paused for a second. “Whoa, wait a minute! I’m supposed to be mad at you!” I yelled, the anger returning.
“I gave every subtle hint I could give without straight up kissing you!” He yelled, just as angry as he had been before, too.
“Dre, you’ve only told me tings that best friends know about each other!” I complained, trying to convince him that he was the one who was wrong.
“Oh yeah?” He crossed his arms again. “Like what?”
I rolled my eyes. “Your favorite old artist is 2Pac, your favorite current artist is Wiz Khalifa, your favorite movie would be between 8 Mile or Get Rich or Die Tryin’, your favorite book is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, your favorite is blue – just like mine – your song that would play whenever you walk into a room would be either I Get Around by 2Pac or California Love by 2Pac because you’re from south central L.A. Your mom’s name is Andrea Annette Jackson-Young because she keeps your dad’s name even though they were never even married, but yet he signed your birth certificate, you’ve never met any other of your grandparents besides your Grandma Felicia, and she died two years ago, you—,”
“That’s enough,” He interrupted. I couldn’t tell what emotion was written across his face, but there was a gleam in his eyes that I didn’t recognize, either.
“That’s all best friend stuff, Dre,” I protested. “Anyone you’re friends with knows that.”
He shook his head, and looked straight into my eyes. “No one knows where I’m from any more specific than California, no one knows how much I loved 2Pac, most people don’t even know I even have a mom, no one knows that I’ve never even met my dad, and no one knows about my grandparents. I only tell those things to you, Mel. Because I know that after a while, you’re going to get tired of all this drama shit and run away from me. And you should, Mel.”
I could feel myself walking towards him, although I felt like I wasn’t in control. I was more drawn to him. “I don’t want to. And I don’t have to,”
“That’s what I was afraid of,” Dre said, and I finally recognized the gleam in his eyes: sadness and terror mixed together. “I never wanted to bring you into this, Mel. Please learn how to forgive me.”
“What?” Tears started to well in my eyes despite my mental protests. “You don’t want me? But you said you loved me…”
There was grief in Dre’s eyes, but he didn’t explain or say anything else. “It’s better this way.” He grabbed my forearm, and I felt rushing water fill my ears. Suddenly, everything was blurred as if I was looking through a window with the rain pounding so hard that it drowned out everything out and made all the colors blur together.
I wanted to hold on, to hash this thing out, but I couldn’t hold on. I reached out, trying to grasp for anything, but my hand just swiped against empty air. I could feel myself falling back, and there was nothing I could do to stop myself.
“Your fear of water is connected to everything happening to you, Mel,” I could hear Dre’s voice say, but I couldn’t see him. “It’s at the bottom of the ocean. All your answers are there.”
“Mel, Mya, Marshall, pancakes!” My mom yelled from upstairs. Usually, Moms that cook breakfast are supposed to sound all nice and sweet, but when my mom does it, it sounds like she’s a general giving us orders.
The bad thing is sometimes, she’s telling us to get up to actually make the pancakes.
But, you know, you gotta love your mom.
I jolted awake, and looked around my room. You see, this was the long term downside of fainting and seizures: you wake up totally confused, and you have no idea where you are. You have to think real hard to remember what you did last night – snuck out to go see Dre – and take baby steps to where you are now. I have to say, it’s pretty exhausting.
Whoa, wait a minute, something didn’t feel right. My vision was a little blurry, and I felt like my head was about 50 lbs. heavier. In fact, I felt like I had a hangover. But, I’d never even drank before, except actually, there was this one time Marshall tricked me into drinking Vodka because he told me it was the invisible flavor of Kool-Aid.
Dad spanked him so hard that night.
“Melly?” I heard a small voice say. I looked down, and saw Mya still lying in my bed, slowly waking up.
“Right here, My,” I said, wrapping my arm around her shoulder. It took me a couple of times though, I was so distorted that my hand kept getting caught in her hair. “You alright?”
I could feel her nod, her head bobbing underneath my arm. “Yeah, I’m fine. I didn’t have any of those nightmares last night.”
I reached down and gave Mya a little kiss on the forehead. “Good.” I whispered.
Ever since Mya was born, she had a lot of problems with night terrors. She was always restless as a baby, she had even more night terrors when she was toddler, waking up screaming about nothing. And the doctors didn’t understand why she was having them; they were about people she hadn’t even seen before.
Sometimes, she would wake up screaming my name or Marshall, or sometimes she would scream about killing and wanting someone to stop. But otherwise than that, she never wanted to talk about it because it scared her so much. She refused to talk about it to her therapist, so the therapist just told us to comfort her whenever she woke up from one. Lately, she seemed to be growing up out of them, but she still had an occasional one.
“Dude, what time is it?” Brite groaned as she slowly rolled over, colliding into me and Mya.
“Brite, Brite, no!” I urged her, but she just kept rolling, sending Mya and I off the edge.
Mya rolled away from me, laughing. “See you upstairs, Melly!” She said, and then scampered off.
I waved good-bye, then rounded onto Brite. Instead of trying to wake her up gently, I just gave her one hard shove, sending her off the edge. She crashed to the floor with a thump, finally waking up.
“Mel, why am I on the floor?” She said groggily, not even realizing that she basically bulldozed me off MY OWN bed. Brite had always been a rough kind of sleeper, always rolling around and kicking at people.
I folded my arms and raised my eyebrow at her. “Probably rolled off,” I kicked her softly in the butt. “Get up, my mom made pancakes.”
“Well, did she call you guys to make pancakes, or did she actually make them,” Brite asked, punching me softly in the arm. She had slept at my house enough to know that my mom sometimes ordered us to make breakfast for her instead of the other way around.
“No, she actually made them since she told Mya to come up too,” I explained as we walked side-by-side up the stairs, our hips bumping.
“So, what happened with Dre?” Brite asked as we rounded the corner to go the kitchen.
I grabbed Brite by the shoulder, keeping her in place. “I don’t want to talk about it, okay? Lot’s of shit happened and…I’ll just explained later?”
Her eyes widened in confusion, but she just nodded and didn’t say anything else. With that, we walked into the kitchen to join the rest of my insane family.
Marshall was helping Mom set the table – Luna not in tow, I noticed – while Mya bounced up and down in her chair, looking excited, but that was just her regular expression.
“Hello, Brite,” Mom greeted, not looking up. “Mel, why didn’t you tell me we had company?”
“I definitely had company last night,” Marshall mumbled with a smirk on his face as he stole the bottle of syrup from Mya.
“Hey!” Mya cried out in alarm. “I was using that, and you got syrup up on the table!”
Mom’s head whipped in the direction of Marshall, forgetting about Brite for a second. “What did you say, Marshall?”
“Nothing, Mom. I absolutely said nothing,” He grinned, his mouth a syrupy mess.
I decided to rat out Marshall as I lead Brite to her usually seat whenever she stayed over. “Marshall was banging Luna Chambers last night,”
Mom’s eyes went wide and she spit out her coffee, spraying a little in Mya’s face. Brite smothered her laughs by covering her mouth while Marshall lunged at me.
“I’m gonna kill you!” He yelled, his arms oustretched.
I held up my fork. “No, you’re not! You won’t be able to get busy with Luna in prison!” I teased.
Immediately, Mom took over control. “Marshall, put your hands down. Mya, grab a couple of napkins to wipe up this mess, and Mel, stop using those crude words before you get your ass beaten.”
See, it’s like breaking a law when Marshall or I cuss, but Mom and Dad cuss all the time.
“How did you know that?” Marshall whispered, watching me with awe in his eyes as I ate my pancakes.
I shrugged. “I was checking to see if everyone was asleep because I snuck out last night.” As soon as I said it, I regretted it because like I said before, Mom has ears like a hawk.
“Mel, you snuck out? Now, just where did you go?” She said, an evil grin written across her face.
The pancake I was eating suddenly felt like a rock going down my throat. “Uh…Dre’s house?” I said reluctantly.
“You went to Dre’s house?!” Mya asked me excitedly, tugging on my shirt. “And you didn’t even take me? But I haven’t seen Derek in forever!” I noticed that the tips of her ears turned red when she talked about Derek. Huh, nice, my little sister has a crush on Derek. Who woulda knew?
“Oh, well if it’s Dre’s house, I don’t mind,” Mom dismissed the subject, doing so as always when I talk about Dre. Even though my parents are constantly telling me not to date boys because quote, “They ain’t gonna raise no babies” but once it came to Dre, they didn’t even care. They gave him the status of a saint, basically.
“What?!” Marshall explained, almost knocking over his orange juice. “Mel can go over to Dre’s house whenever she wants to hook up with him, but Luna and I can’t get busy, even though we’ve been together for a whole year?!”
“Marshall!” Mom said sharply. “Your little sister is right there, you don’t say things like that!” She scolded, her eyebrows furrowing together whenever she got really mad.
The whole time, Brite was silent, just observing the conversation like she was watching a T.V. show. Actually, I guess we’re kinda like the families on Modern Family, in fact, I think we’re even a little more crazier than them.
After that, there was a screaming match between Mom and Marshall – Mom was mostly winning, actually, like always – while Mya, Brite, and I watched in awe, silently eating our pancakes.
We were so engrossed in the screaming that we didn’t even noticed when it was finally over until Marshall said, “If I get a hickey, it’s the end of the world. But if Mel gets one, it’s a blessing!” He complained, pointing at my neck.
“What?!” I could feel my neck turn red with embarrassment. “I don’t have a hickey.”
“Oh my god, Mel, you do,” Brite exclaimed, pointing to my neck. She pulled on my shirt, so I could crane my neck and see. I couldn’t get a very good glimpse of it, but there was a bright blue, round scab on my neck.
“Why is it f’n blue?” Marshall asked, grinning a little because he got me in trouble, getting payback at me.
“Melita Young,” My mom said sternly, turning her hard gaze over to me. “Why in the hell do you have a hickey on your neck?”
“Because she got sucked,” Marshall said, laughing now. “And then she probably sucked, if you get what I—,”
“Marshall!” Mom interrupted. She turned back to me. “Answer my question, Melita. Now.”
I threw up my hands in shrug. “I don’t know! Dre didn’t give me a hickey or anything, I swear! Hickey’s aren’t blue, anyway!”
“Are you on drugs, Mel?” She asked, squinting her eyes at me. “Is that why it’s blue? Did you sneak out for drugs, not to actually go to Dre’s house?”
“Oh my god,” I rubbed the bridge of my nose in frustration. “I’m not on drugs, and this isn’t a hickey! Why can’t you guys understand that? Do you not trust me?” I yelled, feeling the anger bubbling in my chest.
My mom looked hurt, and I realized I’d hurt her feelings. She tried to reach out to touch my hand, but I snatched it away. She opened her mouth to say something, but she was interrupted when the doorbell rung, and I found my chance to get out of there.
Without another word, I yanked out my chair and walked to the door with my fists clutched at my sides. I didn’t bother to look out the windows right near the door, I just opened the door.
“What do you want?” I said angrily, not even looking to see who it was.
“Mel…,” The person said, waking me up out of my angry trance. I looked up to see Dre, his eyes in tired slits and his entire body pale.
I instantly started freaking out. But believe me, if you had seen what I saw, you would have too. I mean, have you ever seen a person with brown skin completely pale, like they’re turning white? It’s a pretty frightening experience.
“Mom! Come quick!” My voice caught in my throat, and I realized that there were tears rolling down from my eyes.
“Mel…” He whispered my name again. He clutched as his chest and stumbled forward, right into my arms.
As I caught him, I noticed that there was deep, blue gash that stretched from the top of his back to the bottom. It ripped through his shirt, and instead of his blood being red, it was blue, just like my scabs.
“Dre, no,” I cried, realizing that I had lost him. He was gone. No more Andre Young. He was just…gone.
I collapsed to the ground, taking his body with me, and I felt a wave of water wash under the both of us, bringing us under.
I didn’t care though.
One of the people I cared about the most was gone.
…How do you accept something like that?
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