NOTE TO READERS: I WORKED REALLY HARD ON THIS PIECE, SO PLEASE LEAVE A DETAILED COMMENT IF POSSIBLE. MORE CHAPTERS ARE TO COME SOON. KEEP IN MIND THE NEXT CHAPTERS WILL ONLY HAVE 1-2 NARRARATIONS, INSTEAD OF SEVEN. I WANTED TO INTRODUCE ALL THE CHARACTERS IN CHAPTER ONE, SO I APPOLOGIZE IF IT IS TOO LONG. BUT TRUST ME, IT ISN'T BORING! :) THANKS!
Preparing for a warm embrace, Alex fidgeted as I attempted to wrap my arms around him. His teal eyes advancing to the floor, he encased his bony fingers around the strap of my bag tightly. The sharp odor of the car stung my nostrils as I inhaled, making me want to vomit. But it's not like it's my fault – I couldn't help the fact that my mom was too lazy to clean out her car. I presumed their was a rat living under all of the newspapers, candy wrappers and the infamous letters from CPS.
“Shit,” she moaned as her coffee splattered onto the floor. Even though I didn't want to interrupt her, I could faintly hear the ring of the first bell as I popped open the car door.
“Is Christine babysitting today?” I asked, tucking my chestnut hair behind my ear.
“No,” mom shot back, “Leah is,” attempting to wipe up the stain from beneath her with a Dunkin' Donuts napkin.
“Leah almost set our house on fire. I don't want her with Alex,” I chimed in, reminding her of that one time. Even though it was four years ago when that happened, I still didn't trust Leah. I mean, who would?
“He's my son, and I'm calling the cheapest babysitter – which is Leah,” Apparently, my mother would. As she replied, I could hear the frustration building in her voice.
“But mom-” I opposed, furrowing my eyebrows with apprehension.
“Charlotte, it's your first day and I don't want you to be late. GO,” she demanded. Slurring her words slightly, it didn't exactly put an end to my worries. I revolved my legs around to the sidewalk, then proceeding to slam the door with anger.
Putting my feelings aside, I sheepishly waved to my brother. Even though he didn't seem to be paying attention as always, I still attempted to say goodbye, standing inches away from the window of the vehicle. I pivoted around, mom's Chevy afflicting from the Hamilton High parking lot behind.
Some people say that the scars of high school last long after graduation day. Although only a sophomore, I was completely positive of the truth in the above statement. My old school was pretty hellish, so when mom finally announced that we were (once again) moving, I was actually pretty excited about it this time.
But once again, everyone was already in a clique; meaning that I was the outsider. I could already see that from the situation outside. Trying to block away everyone else, ironically everyone kept jabbing into me. A football flew past, just barely smacking me in the face. It seemed like I was already being judged and paneled by everyone around me. To be honest, I had no idea where I would fit in.
Two boys across the lawn seemed to be in a fist fight – surprisingly not everyone was surrounding them. A few people were watching, but it wasn't as big a deal like at my old school. Even though Hamilton High was a magnet school, I still couldn't help but notice that it was slightly uncivilized. At least more so than my crappy school in Manhattan. I thought that in Connecticut things would be a bit more..normal. But apparently, I was wrong.
When I got to my locker, I couldn't help but notice that two other girls were there. They were complete opposites – one was a blonde with spider legs, while the other was short with shiny, ebony locks that fell to her shoulders. I looked down to the piece of paper, then shifted my focus back to where the two were standing.
“Excuse me,” I grinned, hoping that they would scatter out of my way. The brunette impelled herself to the neighboring locker skittishly, fiddling with her M-shaped diamond necklace. The blonde placed her hand on her hip, her head tilted sideways. Before speaking she narrowed her turquoise eyes that anyone would envy, biting her bottom lip curiously.
“Can I help you?” she questioned in a prude tone.
“I'm sorry – I didn't mean to interrupt, it's just – that's my locker,” I giggled, pointing to where she was standing as I attempted to be friendly.
“Oh I didn't mean to block it,” the girl smirked to her friend with sarcasm, “Well I'll see you at lunch then. Love ya,” she took her two fingers as she blew her friend a kiss. The girl rolled her eyes, then turning to face the beige locker next to me.
“I'm Miranda,” she checked to see if anyone was watching as she spoke.
“Hi, I'm Charlotte,” I smiled.
“So you're new here?” Miranda asked, trying to start conversation I suppose.
“Yup, I'm from New York,” I responded, looking up to her as I let my tote slide off my shoulder.
“Really? New York?” She asked with disbelief, her chocolate eyes widening.
“Yeah, but where I'm from it was more dangerous than exciting,” I chuckled. Everyone thought that New York was so great – when in reality, it was quite boring for the most part.
“Oh, have you ever been to Broadway?”
“Once or twice,” I lied, fixing my gaze to the floor anxiously. I could never look people in the eyes when I was being untruthful.
“Awesome! You should totally sit with me and Jennifer at lunch,” she suggested, fixing the strap of her leather purse, so it sat comfortably on her shoulder.
“Who's Jennifer, that blonde one?” I asked.
“Yeah..that blonde one..” she rolled her eyes once again.
“Um, okay – I'd love to. Thanks!”
“No problem. See you fourth,” she smiled, using the heel on her ballet shoe to turn herself around. Within a few seconds she was lost in the crowd, and I could dance for victory without looking strange. Scratch that, I still looked strange.
“Okay,” I nodded, even though she was already gone. I didn't know it would be that easy to make a friend – or even two friends. Although they didn't seem like the type of people I would usually hang out with, it was still a great opportunity. As I piled my books together and clutched them to my chest, I let out a long sigh of relief. I did it!
Utter chaos – and noise. Noise, noise, noise. I exited the bathroom and hurried up the steps leading to the cafeteria. Even from inside a cubicle, you could hear the yelling. Honestly, I didn't know how we put up with it every day – the confusing glances and unrequited love. OKAY, so maybe I'm being a bit too dramatic, but the cafeteria is drama central at Hamilton High. Boys trying to draw as much attention to themselves as possible, girls playing their incomprehensible, catty games. Only some actually did what they were supposed to that period – you know, eat lunch – like me.
Look - here I am, I have arrived in the cafeteria once again. Skipping over to the table where only Jennifer and I sat, I exchanged a smile and wave to everyone who called out to me (even if I secretly hated their guts.)
“Hey Jennifer,” I smiled, eying the boys around the table, who were acting like dogs waiting for a bone. As I took my seat, the expression on my face signaled them to leave.
“I hope you don't mind,” I opened my paper bag and began to place my lunch on my handkerchief, “But I invited someone else to sit here.”
“Um..who?” She asked, fixing the cap to her water shut.
“Um, I think her name was Charlotte,” I replied, but seeing Jennifer's clueless expression I was forced to remind her,
“We were standing in front of her locker this morning. The new girl – who's from New York,” I stated, trying to make my point a bit more exciting. She folded her hands together as she leaned towards me, her blue bra showing through her white tank top. I bet she knew it was showing through, as she seemed to love the attention. I found it amusing to see men – even the teachers – drool over her, considering they all ignored me.
It was like I was her slave, constantly picking her up when she feels down and making her who she is – but I get no recognition. Sure I'm invited to all the parties and I'm popular by association, but sometimes I feel it would be better to not be popular.
“Why would you invite her to sit with us, especially without asking me?” Her lips curled a churlish smile as she asked, an eschewing expression across her face. It was pretty easy to tell when Jennifer was being sarcastic.
“So now I have to ask you?” I raised my eyebrows with a scoff.
“Sweetie, it's always been this way,” she smirked, tossing her long mane behind her shoulder as she leaned back. She folded her arms across her chest with anger.
“Don't call me sweetie. I was just trying to be nice to the girl,” I whispered, seeing from the corner of my eye that Charlotte was walking towards us. She clasped a blue lunch tray with her unpolished finger nails nervously; it was obvious she was excited to be sitting with us.
“Hey Lottie,” Jennifer fixed her focus to Charlotte, ignoring me completely.
“Funny, you were just talking about her a minute ago,” I mumbled.
“Just stop being such a bitch, okay?” Jennifer laughed, patting the seat next to her for Charlotte to sit at.
“I'm a bitch?!”
“You do realize that no one likes you, right?” Jennifer snapped back, pulling Charlotte by the string of her sweatshirt to sit. Her hazel eyes beamed between the two of us as we argued.
“Everybody HATES you, just so you know,” I reminded, flashing a fake smile with my ivory teeth. Ever since my braces came off I haven't been able to stop smiling, even if it was a smile of sarcasm.
“Everybody hates me? People say that you stalk me, and everyone tells me NOT to invite you to parties. You're NO fun, and to be honest I don't even want you there myself. But I invite you anyway, AND I defend you. Why do I do this? I do this because I am such a great friend,” she turned to Charlotte with a chuckle once she finished, everyone listening to what we were saying. Jennifer would insult me on occasion, but it was usually never this bad. This was the first time we fought, and that was because I had always been too much of a wimp to defend myself. But not anymore.
The people around us suddenly bursted into hysterics. Only a few people – like Charlotte and others, weren't laughing – just pitying me, which was even worse.
“Excuse me. I have to – I have to go,” I responded with awe, a flood of tears congesting my view. Scooting my chair out with chagrin, I wiped the slight tear etching from the bend of my eye. Dashing from cafeteria, a round of cackle filled the space around me.
Why Friday's had to come with so much drama, I had no idea. It seemed that before any weekend or break, an argument would sizzle. Of course, then ruining the time off. Or at least at Hamilton High.
Maybe I needed to be a bit more rebellious. I was sick of being this girl that followed Jennifer everywhere – I needed to be my own person for once. What if I was really as boring as Jennifer said? I usually didn't take her criticisms to heart, but to find out how everyone feels about you in less than a second – well, it makes a girl think.
Normally Jennifer and I would go to the library at lunch so we could get our homework done. I mean, on regular weekdays we were too busy. But since we were now in a fight, I couldn't be seen at the library without being embarrassed. I mean, I couldn't just go there alone!
When you're popular you have to be at every social event – like basketball games, movie premiers and store openings. That's how you uphold your popularity – by being seen. And as a cheerleader, it was your duty to be at least somewhat popular. So I guess I won't be able to hand in that English worksheet, and I'll have to suffer after school detention.
That's it! It was like a light bulb flashed above my head, like you see in those Saturday morning cartoons. I could get detention, and that way, maybe I could be a bit more rebellious. That'll show Jennifer – with her blonde hair and big boobs.
I was right, I did get after school detention. Which I guess was worth it, considering the look on Jennifer's face when she saw me go into room 204.
Detention - especially after school – seems eternally lasting. Teachers glaring at you as if you're a criminal and speaking to you like you're a child, it doesn't make the experience much
And then their was Sam Kowalski. With her prominent, olive eyes and ashen pale skin, you wouldn't think she was as tough as people say – but once you meet her, you're sure to believe the things people say.
Mr. Jameson looked at the clock briefly, then back at the students who were all bored to death. With one more glance at the clock he sighed,
"I have to go to the restroom, be quiet, I will find out if you make noise,” Mr. Jameson ordered, his voice booming as usual.
As soon as the door closed behind him, Sam paused momentarily with a grin.
“Good, he's gone. Miranda – you be lookout,” she adjured, taking her place at the front of the room. She bowed twice, making her way to the peaking window. She brushed off her red and black plaid shorts which resembled boxers, checked to see if her shoes were tied and then made sure she wasn't up too high. Although I wasn't sure what was exactly happening, I knew that it could probably help me become a bit tougher, which was just what I wanted to do.
As Sam swung her leg out the window, I anxiously hopped from my desk to the front of the classroom. The students, starring at us with blank expressions, obviously didn't know what was going
on. But I couldn't blame them, assuming this wasn't usual for detention. Sam fiddled with her checkered bag, trying to squeeze it out the narrow window. She clutched it tightly, her foot barely
reaching the firm branch of the near Maple tree. Her tote slipped off her shoulder gently, landing on a nearby branch as it was still wrapped around her forearm. Sam gasped, jerking her arm to
attempt bringing her tote closer. But unfortunately, it wouldn't budge.
"Ugh!" grunted Sam, frustrated as she tugged on the strap of her bag once again, this time more strenuously.
"Fuck, my bag is stuck on the branch," Sam pointed out, even though the fact was conclusive to everyone. Dashing over to the window which Sam suspended between, I oscillated my head back to the door where Mr. Jameson exited from a little less than two minutes ago.
"It's okay," I responded, studying the situation carefully, "I think I can get it." Sticking my head out the window, I reassured.
Leaning over so half of my body was dangling in the open air, I strained to attain the branch, my hands just barely touching Sam's bag. Culling at it, I was eventually able to grasp the strap of the tote. Yet, it still wouldn't move. Orbiting my head - once again - back to the classroom, I could see that everyone was now on the edge of their seats, watching us. Mr. Jameson's footsteps echoed in the hallway, coming closer, aiming for room 204. She pulled again, finally the tote bag falling off of Sam's arm and into the bushes below.
"Come on," Sam said gratefully, grabbing my frail wrist as she made her way down the tree. Her sneakers were her guide as she trailed down the branches, sliding from the rain the night before. The flawless sky was padded with fluffy white clouds, giving the angels comfort. The sun had a celestial glow which beamed down onto us. Even though I knew I was doing something wrong, it felt so right.
“Um - alright," I grinned, finally responding. Even though I was still a bit bewildered at the whole thing. My body clinging to the branch like a Koala, I shuffled my way down past what seemed to be two stories of the building. Even though I wasn't visible to the classroom eye anymore and was semi-close to the ground, I still couldn't help the beads of sweat dripping down my forehead – or the fact that my heart was pounding fifty beats per second. Sam flung herself down to the ground, her curly blonde locks swinging in the late-February breeze.
Shutting my eyes tightly, I released my grasp of the dirty branch and allowed myself to fall. My body aching as I laid on the dewy grass, for some reason I began chuckling. Although my hair was in my mouth and all across my face, I couldn't stop the grin from spreading across my lips.
Wavering, Sam finally reached her hand out to pull me up. We both bursted, hearing Mr. Jameson lecture from the classroom more than two stories above. And we weren't laughing just as detention buddies, but as friends too.
“So what are we gonna do now?” I smiled, trying to befriend her. I mean, now that I was a loner it didn't really matter who I was seen with. I never liked being popular anyway.
“We?” She snorted, tossing me a glare. With a sigh, my innocent eyes trembled up to the window of room 204, reminding Sam of what I just helped her do. She rolled her eyes, even though I could see she was impressed with what we had done.
“Well, I guess we better get out of here. I mean, Mr. Jameson will realize that we're gone sooner or later. I'm supposed to babysit tonight, wanna come?” she eventually offered, her voice slightly raspy. I nodded, taking my lip gloss from my leather handbag.
“Why do you wear that whore-paint anyway?” She asked with curiosity, locking her arm with mine as we headed towards the track field.
Before I could reply, a gasp slipped out. There he was – right in front of us. Nathan Creston, the boy who cleans my house at grandma's request. He's always had this cute crush on me. I was never allowed to talk to him because of Jennifer. She says if I was seen with him it would damage my reputation.
Even though I don't feel the same way he feels for me, I still think he deserves kindness. The only thing that boggled my mind was why he was here.
He wasn't exactly bad looking, either. His hair harmonized with his eyes – a russet brown, they both were, while his skin was a milky white. He wasn't exactly as buff as the football players Jennifer and I usually dated, but he wasn't that scrawny. Actually, he was pretty cute – in a geeky, “the boy who cleans my house,” kind of way.
“Oh, hey Nathan,” I simpered quietly, fumbling with my thumbs as I kept my focus on the ground.
“You know him?” Sam whispered in my ear, shocked. I could tell she wasn't trying to be a bitch, she was just surprised.
“Your grandma asked me to pick you up. Detention is over already? I thought it was until five,” he wondered, walloping the hood of his 1997 Toyota Camry. I could tell he regretted his rapacious actions afterwords by the expression on his face, and as I watched him check for dents.
“We got kicked out. Miranda stole a kid's weed and I tried to have sex with Mr. Jameson,” Sam chuckled, obviously saying it in a way that would alarm Nathan. He's known me for years, and I could tell what she said rubbed him the wrong way. I guess she enjoyed scaring people. That's probably why I was her only friend.
“Sam,” I nudged her, yelling in a whisper. I didn't want the boy to wet himself.
I wanted the boy to wet himself. It's still unbeknownst to me why this is, but for some reason I just enjoy panicking people. It's kind of like a test – if you can't take my sarcasm, then you shouldn't be my friend. Which I guess was the reason why Miranda was the only person willing to befriend with me. Even though I only met her a few minutes ago, she seemed to be pretty decent. But I guess she was only befriending me because of that whole thing with Jennifer George at lunch today.
I could already tell that I hated this Nathan kid. He crookedly smiled, eying the both of us as he attempted to see if I was joking or not.
“You know her?” Nathan questioned, directly to Miranda. He smirked, meeting my gaze. I could see he was trying to get back at me, which, even subtle, was kind of unacceptable.
“So are we going to my house or what?” I asked, turning to Miranda as I ignored Nathan once again.
“How would we get there? I mean, the late bus doesn't come for another hour and we'll probably be caught by Mr. Jameson if we stay,” Miranda reminded, running her fingers through her thin hair.
“Hey kid, give us a ride,” I stated, dragging Miranda to the grotesque vehicle Nathan apparently drove. Before he could oppose, I was already inside. It smelled of glue and cabbage, which couldn't be good for the sinuses.
“Well *she's* assertive,” he laughed, rolling his eyes, yet slightly interested. He slowly popped open the door to the drivers seat, then sliding himself in. His eyes ran to the rear view mirror, focusing on me for a moment. I snickered, sticking out my tongue in a playful way. Nathan sniggered for a moment, then ceasing amusement when Miranda coasted onto the leather seat. She furrowed her eyebrows, even though I could tell she was lightly aroused by our abnormal antics.
The house appeared as if a hurricane had just blown through it – but of course I was used to it. Since we didn't usually have company over, I was a bit confounded when Miranda and Nathan acted so repulsed.
Boxes rested throughout the hallway, and the kitchen was cluttered with empty grocery bags and cockroach bait. The sundeck which our landlord had tossed in for free when he was in a relationship with my mother, was congested with wet clothes and the lizard tank my mom bought at a garage sale. As I led Nathan and Miranda into the living room, I watched out for driblets of cat fecal.
“Mom,” I signaled, causing her to put down the beer she was drinking and hand me Anthony, my younger brother. Her azure eyes finally fixed on the two people behind me with a bit of shock.
“Who-who-are they?” She slurred, asking bewilderingly. As she spoke, she stuttered her words. You could see the roots prevailing through her blonde hair, which she tried to maintain.
“They're..uh..my friends,” I replied with skepticism, not sure if it was alright to classify Miranda and Nathan as my friends. I could tell by the achieved expression on Miranda's face she was okay with the term, but I still wasn't so sure about Nathan.
Mom nodded finally, “Leave the door open,” she requested in a whisper, as she clasped onto her head with pain and dimmed down the lights with her remote.
My room was literally the only organized room in the house. Although I was usually too lazy to clean, I liked having a space where I could walk around. I placed Anthony in the crib beside my bed, where he normally slept.
“Nice room, you like The Beatles?” He asked, in regards to the poster on my wall.
“Yup, I love George. Been listening to them ever since I was little. My dad always played it in the house,” I grinned at remembrance of the good times.
“Is he at work?” Miranda asked, her voice trailing off as she examined the doleful expression upon my face.
“In jail,” I corrected, trying to humor the situation by chuckling.
“I see...” Nathan took a seat on my bed. Even though I was a tomboy, my room was surprisingly girlish. The violet theme and all. When we moved in here I was four, and that's what I had wanted. My dad gave me everything that I wanted – so when he was arrested, my mom sort of veered me unspoiled. It was kind of like my whole personality changed when he went to prison.
“Shut up, I bet your family isn't so perfect either,” I scoffed.
“You're right, my father died,” Nathan responded, in a morbid tone.
“Both of my parents died – I live with my grandparents,” Miranda chimed in, trying to make us feel better.
“How did they die?” I asked, in regards to Miranda's situation. Nathan rolled his eyes, looking at the Ballerina jewelry box on my nightstand.
“Car accident – Nathan's dad too,”
“He was there?” I asked, my eyebrows ridged with awe.
“Yup,” she sighed, “Our families were – and still are - close. They lie together, die together,”
“That's not creepy,” I murmured sarcastically with a giggle. Nathan nudged me childishly, laughing as well. Soon the three of us were bursting, until Nathan looked to his wrist watch. His eyes widened, as he hopped from the bed.
“I have to go!” he yelled, running to the door.
“What's wrong?” I asked, stopping him in his tracks.
“My mom will kill me if I'm not home. It's almost five o' clock,”
“You have a five o' clock curfew?”
“It is a Friday. She doesn't want me out all hours,” he responded cooly, a bit more relaxed as he waved goodbye to us. Miranda and I bursted, seeing that he had tripped on a laundry basket, tipping over my mom's bras while he tried to reach the front door. He winced with a yelp, his shoe touching one of them before slamming my door shut. Boy, Nathan sure knew how to make an exit.
The warmth of my home enveloped me as I slammed the door behind me, blocking the wind. I was relived to smell chicken on the stove and my mother's apricot perfume, instead of Sam's house. Since I rarely go out, a pleasant feeling sat in the pit of my stomach.
“Nathan! Where have you been?” mom asked cautiously, running down the cherry-sealed steps impatiently. A scowl was engraved into her face, her lips turned down and eyebrows ridged.
“I was.. at a friends' house,” I nodded with a smirk, thinking about the two girls who were now officially friends. Maybe I could sit somewhere else at lunch – I hated sitting at the loser table at lunch. I mean, pretty much everyone who sat there was either a Mathlete or Science Olympiad.
“Which friend? Where do they live?”
“Seriously mom, do you have to stalk my life? Her name is Sam Kowalski, and why do you want to know where she lives?!”
“Sam Kowalski?! Isn't she the girl who set Mr. Rathbone's pants on fire back in seventh grade?”
I tried to hold in a laugh, but it kept escaping through my closed lips.
“What were you doing over there?” She asked, overprotective as usual. But today she seemed a bit … different. I couldn't exactly put my finger on it.
“We were – nothing, mom. We weren't doing anything. Plus, Miranda was there.”
“Oh,” she replied, seemingly a bit more calm, “Well that's okay then. Someone called for you,” she responded, making her way back up the stairs. She tapped on the railing with the greasy spatula in her hand, signaling for me to follow. Usually she would just use a whistle.
“Lena Rodriguez. WHAT WERE YOU DOING WITH LENA RODRIGUEZ? You know she's trouble,” she yelled, tears coming to her eyes.
“I wasn't doing anything with her, I don't even know why she's calling here,” I stated in a confused tone, grabbing the phone from the desk.
“I don't know what to believe anymore,” mom whimpered, going back to her cooking.
I had no idea why Lena Rodriguez – the SLUT Lena Rodriguez – would be calling me. We barely spoke and even I could recognize that she's way out of my league.
Pressing redial and hearing an immediate ring, I held the phone between my cheek and shoulder, straightening out my Star Trek quilt.
“Hello?” Lena asked on the other line, in a snotty voice.
“Oh – um – yeah, hey. This is – uh – Nathan, Nathan Creston. Um..my mom said that you-”
“DOES SHE KNOW WHERE I CAN BUY YOU GOOD CONDOMS?” my mother interrupted, poking her head through the door. Giving mom a helpless look, I could hear Lena laugh on the other end with embarrassment – and even a bit of flattery.
“Sorry about that,” I groaned.
“It's alright. I just called to ask you what the science homework was for this weekend,” she yawned.
“Oh – um, I think it was just to study for the quiz,” I replied, my voice still shaking. I knew my chances of having sex with Lena were now at zero. But that didn't matter to me, considering I was still in love with Miranda. Well..not in love, but you know what I mean. I could hear a dead, oblong silence at the other end – and then it cut off. She hung up on me.
Tired from standing up for so long, I rolled my curvacious body onto the bed. I took one last picture of myself, then put the camera back into the blue case. Making my way over to my laptop, I checked Facebook once again to see I still had no new notifications. Sometimes I got upset at that, but not usually. I guess I just wanted some friends.
I mean, I knew that guys drooled over my pictures in private – with my curly black locks and plump lips. Plus, I've been told that I have the body of a goddess on Formspring. They just never have the balls to leave me a comment. I had all these pictures of me, and known with friends. I guess people just didn't want to get involved with me. But I didn't care, I mean sex was only meant for fun, right? It didn't mean they had to hang around me afterwords.
Hearing the front door slam, I immediately knew that it was my mom. Hoping she wouldn't see my lacy lingerie, I quickly tossed on my flower printed robe and wrapped it around my body. Since she would never buy me underwear that was so provocative, I had to buy it myself. It's not like I could let a guy see me in the Disney princess underwear she always buys me, or the training bras that barely held my boobs up.
“I bought Chinese,” she said, handing me a greased, foam to-go box from Lin Chang's. She eyed me, giving me a suspicious look. She didn't know I was sexually active, but it didn't matter. That was my business.
It was all my mothers fault that my father left, and I've always hated her for that. She ruined my life by driving him out of here. And when he tried to get custody of me, she would make up lie and say he was “emotionally abusive” or some bullshit like that to prevent him from seeing me. And of course, the judge ALWAYS believes the woman. I really hated the lack of equality in the court system.
I jumped, my hot pink phone unexpectedly beeping. I barely ever got text messages, from anyone. To my surprise – it was Zach. He hadn't been in contact with me since … that one night.
“if u could take off ANY item of my clothing what would it be? gipgfghghplfp]t0rghlgjgjngm gknl”
I rolled my eyes, knowing it was just Zach and his friends messing around. Sometimes I just wish that he would talk to me for ME, and not for what I had to offer.
“Lena's a pretty good time,” I chuckled, nudging my friend Matt. His hair was jet black – the opposite of Callum, being a fiery red head. Callum laughed, sitting on the bench to take off his tights. We played a pretty good scrimmage that day, hopefully it was enough to beat Forland on Friday. Every time we played them, they would always win the game by just a few points. But this time we had an advantage, we were playing home for this game.
“Man, she's so needy though. Did you see her pictures on Facebook?” Callum raised his eyebrows, seemingly thinking back with a perverted smile across his thin lips.
“I saw,” Matt nodded in agreement with a titter.
And there came Joe, my douche bag of a brother. We were only a few months apart, but we were so different. He was – blah. While I was, well...me.
“Hey baby dick,” I laughed, throwing my towel around my shoulder. He rolled his eyes, ignoring my comment like he always did.
Sometimes I wished that my parents never adopted Zach. I was sick of his immature insults and ignorant attitude. I don't think he realizes that some of the things he says can affect other people. Whenever he doesn't get his own way, he tells mom and/or dad:
“Sometimes I want to be like Joe - normal. All I want is to be apart of this family, but it's obvious you don't want me.”
And even though he was adopted fourteen years ago, he still pretends to be just-adapting to us. We were practically his real family for Gods sake, I mean we took him in at two.
Holding my guitar case in my hand, I announced – breaking up Zach's conversation with his idiot friends,
“Mom's here, she told me to come get you,”
“I was gonna get a ride home from Callum,” he replied with a scorn, acting as if it was my fault that mom showed up.
“Well she came to pick me up from band practice, and told me to get you. So come on,” I adjured, hoping he would for once follow directions. I mean, he didn't do ANYTHING he was told, but he's still rewarded. He has sex even though he wears a purity ring, he doesn't do his homework but his teachers still love him, and he doesn't study yet he passed all of his tests.
“Get out of here, fag,” he shouted, tossing his grimy towel onto my head, messing up what people liked to call my Joe-fro.
“Dude come on,” I threw it back across the locker room as I attempted to not look at the naked guys stepping out of the shower. It's not like I'm gay and trying to resist temptation or anything, I just don't like seeing men in the nude.
I was finally able to convince Zach to get out of the locker room. I didn't know what he wanted to talk to his friends about, but I knew mom would blame it on me if Zach kept her waiting. That's the way it always was – I guess my parents preferred Zach over me.
“Jackass,” he murmured to me, before swinging open the van door with a gushing smile. It seemed as if he had a split personality. The innocent, perfect Zach, and the evil, aggressive Zach. Obviously he only let my parents see the innocent, perfect Zach.
He smoothed out his sun-kissed blonde hair, taking a seat in the car. Mom smiled at the both of us, even though I could tell she was only glad to see Zach. She eyed my Led Zeppelin T-shirt with disgust, then shrugging her shoulders and turning back to the wheel.
“I don't get why you listen to that Satan music,” she blatantly said. It seemed her Texas accent sounded oddly heavier whenever she was trying to insult me. I nodded,
“Okay,” I responded, hoping she would just drop the subject. I could tell she was trying to start an argument, but I wasn't going to buy into it.
“..Why can't you be like your brother? I mean, Zachary loves the Christian for Kids CD I bought him,”
“Hmm, I don't know,” I sighed. Even though I was agitated with her, I knew if I blew up it would just make things much worse. Flipping her chocolate hair out of her eyes, she carefully started the engine.
“..And I don't exactly want you listening to Marilyn Manson anymore. He's one of them Satan worshipers,” she belittled, once again, trying to blow my top. Unfortunately, this time it worked.
“JUST SHUT UP, OKAY? YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT! Bitch..” I screamed, realizing a few seconds afterwords that I would be in big trouble. For some reason, we weren't allowed to swear in our house – even though mom and dad cursed each other off after hours.
She gasped, “Joseph Tobias Palmer, how dare you speak to me that way – and call me the B word! Get out of this car,”
“GET OUT,” she yelled with a sniffle, “and bring that guitar too. You can walk home,”
“Whatever,” I rolled my eyes, slamming shut the door to the van as I exited.
“Ugh, Miranda Shier is so fucking annoying,” she complained, flipping her golden hair behind her in the rear view mirror of her silver Lexus convertible. Kicking the shopping bags over so my feet would rest a bit more comfortably, I tried to ignore what Jennifer was saying about poor Miranda. She seemed sweet, and Jennifer was probably the villain and all this. But I couldn't just jeopardize the new friendship, I mean I was popular now. Hopefully it won't get to my head later on.
I needed to do something good because of the guilt gnawing at me. And as I saw the curly haired boy walking down the street, I knew exactly what kind deed I could do.
“Hey, you!” I called out. The boy looked up, his deep hazel eyes filled with sorrow.
“Need a ride?” I asked.
He nodded, a grin spreading across his face. Jennifer shot me a look, her eyes asking me what the hell I was doing. The boy placed his hand on the car, about to open up the door, when Jennifer stopped him.
“I'm really not trying to be rude, but you can not get into this car, Joe,” she said – I could tell that she was trying to be rude, even though she claimed that she wasn't trying to. It was kinda obvious that Jennifer loved to be malevolent.
“Why?” the boy, apparently named Joe, inquired in a confused tone.
“Well..I mean, don't take this too personally – but Charlotte and I can't be seen with you. It'll just look..weird. I mean, if someone saw me with you it would – it would just totally ruin everything. And it may even ruin my chances as the Spring Fling queen – Charlotte's, too,” she responded, trying to make him sympathize with her illogical excuse.
“Um, Jennifer. I actually don't think that I'm running for Spring Fling queen,” I whispered, trying not to be rude to Joe by starting another conversation.
She stopped the car, which was before moving at a very slow pace which Joe was walking along side of.
“What?! Why? I need some fair competition.”
“Thanks, but I want to focus on my school work right now. The curriculum is different here and since I moved in the middle of the year I have a lot of catching up to do,” I gave an appreciative smile. I didn't think I was near as beautiful as Jennifer was.
“Well the Spring Fling isn't until May, so I'm sure you'll be caught up by then,” she exchanged a grin.
“Wait a second - if it's in May, then why are you talking about it now?” Joe interrupted, his leather guitar case weighing him down.
“Shut up, we're having a conversation,” Jennifer replied, holding up one finger for him to wait, putting me in an awkward position.
“Look, can I get a ride or not?” he asked, his voice strained with frustration.
Jennifer smiled sarcastically with her pearly white teeth, then pressed down the gas pedal with her Louis Vuitton high heel. As the car sped away, she pointed her middle finger in the direction of Joe, yelling,
“DOES THAT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION? Haha, LOSER!”
With a shy sigh, I veered my body towards him and shrugged my shoulders. I guess this is the way it had to be.
SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT THE SCARS OF HIGH SCHOOL LAST LONG AFTER GRADUATION DAY.
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