Stuck With A Frienemy
Loud music resonates within the small house, the air is filled with an unknown smoke. Plastic cups and empty bottles of alcohol are littered
all around. Teens are scattered all around conversing with one another or rubbing against each other in a drunken attempt at dancing. Next to a couple making out, a young girl leans against one of
the dirty walls in an attempt to disappear. But her luck escapes her as she notices one of her friends stumble over to her.
“Hey Rach!” he greets cheerfully, his breath reeking of strong liquor.
“Hi Will,” she greets politely.
“How's you doin'? Great party, right?” he asks before taking another chug of his mixed drink, swaying a little. Rachael manages to cover her wince behind a small grimace. She wasn't a real fan of parties or drinking, but the goofy smile on her friend's face deterred her from raining on his parade. The small nod she gives him causes Will to cheer and continue on with flirting with some random girl.
The couple next to her is making out rather diligently, unknowingly scooting closer to her. With an annoyed sigh, she leaves the couple to their public affection. Zig-zagging her way through the crowd, she searches for her best friend in hopes of leaving. A party goer bumps into her, spilling his drink on her shirt. She reassures the him that it was no big deal and with a forced smile, returns to her search. Spotting her goal, she joyously makes her way to the black haired boy that was her salvation. At the sight of who he was with causes her to frown and recoil. He's chatting up some of the other football players, no problem, but his ex-girlfriend is also possessively clinging to him and laughing. Exasperated and hurt, she turns around and heads for the door.
Meanwhile, across the house, two boys are having a conversation. Actually, one drunk boy is enthusiastically talking while the other looked like he was about to strangle the unaware drunk.
“I'm tellin' you, dude, Andy Richards totally's gots the hots for me, man!”
The other boy, Charlie Parker, has had enough. He pushes the other guy and stalks away, his mood dimming by the moment. Thinking to himself
that he was surrounded by morons, he tries to understand why he agreed to go to the party in the first place. The smoke makes it hard for him to breathe, yet everyone seems to be having fun. Parker
sneers at them until someone bumps into him, causing him to growl and smack the drink, resulting in spilling the contents all over on the poor girl. Her giant boyfriend and his cronies don't seem
care for that. Parker quickly makes his escape, taking a shortcut through the kitchen and heading for the door, only to crash into Rachael Brodowski.
“Watch it!” he shouts.
“You ran into me, idiot,” she says. Parker seems to notice the hitch in her voice and lack of venom in her words. He takes in her appearance a bit more. She's frowning, not that this surprised him, she often frowned when he was around, but also her green eyes seem to be holding back tears. Not a regular occurrence for the usually happy-go-lucky girl. Instead of teasing her or taunting her, his curiosity gets the best of him.
“Hey, what's wrong?”
She ignores him and heads out the door, a whoosh of freezing cold air and snow sweeping through the entrance. He knows she doesn't have a car, and that she can't drive, so he follows her.
“Where do you think you're going?” he asks her. The distraught girl treks through the deep snow and pulls her hat down farther, still blatantly ignoring him. Sighing in frustration, he stomps over to the girl and grabs her arm, then proceeds to drag her towards the street.
“What are you doing!?” she shrieks, “Let me go, jerk!” She struggles to get out of his clutches, but her mittens do not give her the proper traction she needs to escape.
“I'll drive you home, idiot. I can't let you walk home in this crap,” he motions to the heavily snowing sky above them. Shocked, Rachael allows herself to be let to the beat up, rusty, old car that
belonged to Charlie Parker. He opens the passenger door and pushes the shocked girl in, before closing the door and getting in the driver's seat. She wonders if he was actually doing something nice
“Why do you care?” she asks. He turns toward her, one eyebrow raised.
“You're kidding right? Do you know how much hot water I would be in if people knew I let you freeze to death?” he says, “Besides you owe me big time for this.” He sounds so smug, the anger
rekindles within Rachael and her temper flares. She lets out an angry growl.
“I should have known.”
Evaluating her options, she realizes that if she were to get out and walk home, she would probably die from freezing. But on the other
hand, she would owe Parker a favor, one that most likely would consist of something illegal and everlasting embarrassment on her part. Before she could make a decision, Parker hits the gas and
tears down the street, jolting Rachael with a new sense of fear. The loud, angry, German metal music reverberates in the small car and he blasts the heat. Rachael wonders how he could drive with
the music so loud. Surely it's a distraction, right? She turns the music off and crosses her arms, ignoring her partner’s shout of 'Hey!'.
“What the Hell?” he asks, taking his eyes off the road to look at the girl.
“What? The music was too loud. I'm surprised you could even think with it blasting your eardrums out!” she berates him, “Hey! Eyes on the road!” Grumbling, he returns his attention back to the road
not noticing how the snow was falling harder and the wind was blowing the car a little bit.
“My car, my rules,” he turns the music back on. Rachael quickly turns it down again.
“Negotiate!” she insists, the music barely echoing within the car. Parker lets out a long sigh.
Rachael grinds her teeth and she punches his shoulder rather hard. He yelps and while glaring at her, reaches over to pull her hair but never
gets the chance. He hears Rachael's panic stricken scream followed by a large crash. The teens are slightly shaken up and dazed, but manage to examine themselves of any injuries. Seeing none on
her, Rachael turns to Parker, “Nice driving,” she says dully. Parker scoffs at her comment and runs a hand through his hair, trying to effectively block out the angry blonde next to him. She
furrows her brow and continues, “I guess that's what I get for driving with someone who practically failed driver's ed.”
“At least I can drive,” he says, “And I wouldn't have crashed the damn car if you didn't distract me, so it's your fault, not mine!”
“Yeah, because it wasn't the fact that you were driving too fast, or not paying attention to the road, or trying to attack me. I didn't even hit you that hard, you're such a baby.” Parker clenches
his fists and turns to face her completely. He glares at her, the tension in the air thick. Both teens give the other the Death Stare.
“Why didn't you just get a ride home from your boyfriend if you had such a problem with me driving?”
Rachael felt like someone poured a cold bucket of water on her. She wipes away angry tears before visibly deflating. Parker, confused at the sudden change, cocks his head to the side as he studies her. He always teased her and her best friend, Randy Marks, of dating, even though everyone knew it would never happen. However, ever since he broke up with his girlfriend, Marks had been hanging out with Rachael quite often lately and Rachael did seem to be acting different. Realization hits him, and he points a finger at her in accusation, “Holy Hell, you really like him don't you?”
“It's only a crush,” she utters, “It's really not a big deal.”
Parker contemplates her answer. Obviously it was a big enough deal to push her over the edge, but why was she on the edge in the first place? He knows that it takes a lot to make Rachael upset.
“No, that can't be all,” she looks at him with confusion as he continues, “You never get upset over guys, you are way to independent for that. What else is going on?” For being somewhat mortal enemies, Parker really could read Rachael like an open book. That's what makes their 'relationship' so messed up. They 'hated' each other with a burning passion, but they never seemed to avoid confronting each other. They almost seemed to revel in their fights, the insults somehow keeping them on their toes.
But they still would hang around each other, causing them to be closer than most best friends, even though neither of them would admit it.
Knowing that he would never drop it, she complies by answering him, “My parents are pressuring me to pick a college by Monday and contact a Med School to 'get ahead of the game' or whatever. It's all happening so fast, I don't know.” Parker rolls his eyes. She's stressed over this?
“At least you have a damn chance at getting into college.”
“You can still get int-”
“No!” he shouts, “It's not that easy, not everyone gets everything planned out for them and handed everything to them!” His words laced with bitterness. Rachael stares at him and takes in the
unbelievable comment. She waves her fists around in anger.
“Handed to them? I work my butt off all flippin' day to be this person my parents want me to be! They want me to be just like my brother, and everyone places me on top of this pedestal with expectations that I could never even hope to live up to! My parents pressure me to do things I don't want to do, and I don't get a say in anything! They don't care about how I feel, they just care about their stupid reputation! ” Parker outright laughs at her pathetic rant, her pitiful whining.
“If you are so miserable trying to please them, then why do it? It's your life, you should live it the way you want. Do what you want if it makes you happy. Make your own damn decisions!” he says,
the truth remarkably presented in his words, “Why don't you be a writer or something? Don't you like books and all that artistic crap?” Realizing that he's right she turns away from him in deep
thought and glimpses out the window. Her eyes widen and she gasps.
“Oh my gosh!” She tries opening the door, but it doesn't budge. She whips around to face Parker, the look on her face is of pure panic. Catching the hint, he tries to open his door, at each failed
attempt he would repeat the mantra of “Crap, crap, crap.” With an agitated cry, he leans back in his seat. He's stuck, in a small car, in the middle of a snowstorm, with the Rachael Brodowski. He
puts his hands on his face and whimpers a little.
Rolling her eyes at the troublemaker, she takes out her phone, “Don't be such a wuss, I can just call Trish to come an-” Parker removes his hands from his face and glances at Rachael. She stares at her phone with her mouth slightly open. She catches his befuddled expression and nervously smiles at him, “Um, my battery's dead,” she gives a forced laugh, “Please tell me you have your phone.”
“My little brother borrowed it.”
Silence falls between them, only the howling wind can be heard. “So, we're stuck then,” she whispers. A beat passes than Rachael claps her hands together. “Okay, we'll just wait out the storm, and someone will come get us in the morning,” she says, brushing the situation off easily. Parker looks at her as if she grew a second head.
“Are you seriously that optimistic? It could be days before someone finds us.”
“You can't think that wa-”
“Oh wait, I forgot. I'm stuck with the great Rachael Brodowski! No one cares if I vanish, but God forbid they don't shut down the town if Rachael Brodowski goes missing! Who else would suck up to the teachers and lead the Homework Club and put on rallies to drive out hunger in third world countries without actually doing anything?” he rants. He waves his arms around, like an enraged cartoon character. Rachael, offended at his comment, counters with viciousness.
“If you weren't such a jerk to everyone, then maybe someone would care! But no one does because you are a inconsiderate, mean-spirited, ignorant, jerk! I can't stand you! Nobody can stand you! Even
your own father can't stand you!” She quickly puts her hand over her mouth then desperately tries to take back what she said, “Oh, Parker, I didn't m-”
He sighs, “Forget it. He isn't worth it.”
Rachael sighs too. Noticing her deplorable expression he says, “I don't need your pity. Yeah, your right. No one can stand me, I'm an inconsiderate jerk, but you know what? I don't care. I don't need anyone or their damn pity.” The car was beginning to get chilly and she shivered. Her guilt crushing her, she tears up for the umpteenth time that night, but this time for someone other than herself. She knew his mother was a struggling drug addict, never home, and his father walked away from them without a care in the world when his little brother was born. Everyone taunted Parker for it because it was just about the only thing that they could really hurt him with, even his so called 'friends' teased him at least once a week about it. Realizing how much of a jerk she was being, she shakes her head as all the pieces clicks together.
“You're lonely,” she says, her breath visible.
“Yeah, right,” he says, his breath visible too.
“I'm serious. You hang out with, what, four people, one of them being me and you constantly fight with us. How can that be satisfying?” Parker folds his arms and closes his eyes as she continues, “We are supposed to be your friends, Charlie,” he jerks when she says his first name. She never uses his first name other than in anger...but she just did and she sounded like she...cared? She continues, “We all have problems, but we help each other out with them. If you could just swallow your stupid pride and talk to me, maybe we could...” she struggles to finish the sentence. His eyes snap open.
“We could what? Be friends?” he asks sarcastically. Rachael shrugged her shoulders and looks at him. He sees her shiver again. He notices that he is freezing too.
“C'mon,” He crawls into the backseat and gestures for her to follow. She stares at him, her teeth chattering. He once again gestures for her to follow, and she complies.
“I'm not hitting on you or anything (gross), I'm just cold, alright?” She scoffs at his comment but leans into his embrace as he wraps his arms around her. She could feel his body heat slowly warm
her up, causing her to become drowsy. Within minutes she falls asleep, and moments later, so does he.
The duo awake to the sound of knocking on the window. Opening their eyes they notice the sunlight and the absolute freezing air around them. Thank God they had hats and gloves, or they might have
gotten frost bite.
“Hello? Anyone in there?” a man's voice inquires.
“Yes, yes! In here! Oh, freedom, I can taste it! It tastes so good!” Parker says as he claws at the window while Rachael chuckles at his childish antics.
Peering in the window, one of their neighbors appears. “Oh, you poor kids. Don't you worry, I'll have you out of there in no time!” The man
then returns to his truck, hauling a large shovel back. Parker and Rachael share a small smile, knowing they are almost free. Parker raises an eyebrow at her.
“Shouldn't you be freaking out about missing school?” he asks. She grins at him.
“Naw, I don't think missing a day will kill me.”
“Oh-ho! Miss doctor is skipping, huh?”
“Doctor? Pfft, I'm gonna be a writer,” she says. Parker smiles proudly at his frienemy before shaking his head playfully at her answer. Catching his bemused expression she goes on, “How 'bout we get some breakfast when we get out of here?”
“Sounds good to me. But you're treat. You owe me one, remember?”
“Wha? No! I don't owe you anything,” she argues.
“Yeah-huh. We settled this last night. I drive you home and you owe me a favor.”
“We never made it to my house! Not even to my neighborhood!”
“You're the one who made me crash my car!”
Outside the car, the old man with the shovel shakes his head and smiles. Even with two feet of snow between him and the teens, he could hear their noisy exchange. The shift in their notorious interactions would surely be a challenge for them, he knew. But even the old man could tell that the beginning of a new friendship might have been unraveling.
“You are so unbelievable Charlie Parker!”
To bad the loud arguing would never change between the two short-tempered teens. But then again, maybe it was for the best.
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