Breathe chapter 2

Breathe chapter 2

A Chapter by LunalitSol

 “A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it. It would be hell on Earth.”

                     ----George Bernard Shaw

 Chapter 2: Free Fall

   1. Casey:

    Casey could feel the stares and she heard the whispers. They acted as if she was deaf. But Casey was not so deluded as to believe that they truly believed she couldn’t hear them. They just didn’t care. She knew this. It was a fact of life. No one gave a f**k and they never would. She was just a s**t to them. Whatever. Her motto had long been screw it. And no, not that way. She just didn’t care anymore what people said. Besides, she’d always been a realist. And, realistically, a good portion of the rumors were true. And she was pregnant at seventeen. 

   She knew people were saying she was. That didn’t bother her. It was true. What bothered her was the rumor accompanying it. People were saying she was going to get an abortion. A few people were even saying that she intended to purposefully miscarry it, to kill her own baby. Truthfully, abortion had hardly occurred to her when she’d found out. Her decision to keep her child had been a swift one. This kid would be hers, no matter what. They would have to love her simply because she’d given them life. She liked the sound of that. Casey liked purpose. She loved inescapable purpose. It was fate. 

   People would talk. Casey had known that. But it was only the second week of school and already the rumors were vicious and haunting. She was almost scared of what was to come. 

    She was shaken out of her reverie by the slam of a dictionary on her desk. She started, cursing aloud when her knee hit the table.

    “Miss McClure, I was wondering whether you’d be willing to join us. I was just asking whether you believed Steinbeck’s frequent allusions to dust were symbolic of anything besides the actual event or location, or anything else physical?”

    “Of course,” Casey replied, instantly relieved. English class fourth period was her place to shine.

    “The dust can also be seen as blindness to the truth, an inability to achieve clarity by the characters, and the misunderstandings prevalent, in particular where the murder is concerned.” 

Ms.Travis looked at her for a long moment before nodding slightly.

  “Good.”
   
   Casey smirked. Some things would never change.

  2.Blake:

   “Okay, but I’m jut saying, Chuck Noris is way more beast than Bruce Lee.”

    Blake sighed. He couldn’t believe they were still having this argument. Matt and Tyler had been going on this subject since the first day of school. Two weeks later and they were still going at it. It was getting ridiculous.

    “C’mon Tyler. Matt’s right. Just admit it!” Parker interjected from the treadmill. 

    Tyler shook his head adamantly. 

     “No way dude. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Bruce Lee was the one who taught Chuck Noris. AND he killed him in The Way of the Dragon! Bruce Lee is definitely the best. Blake agrees with me, don’t you Blake?”

     Blake paused for a moment then called out, “Hey who wants pizza? I’m starved.”

     “Way to change the subject man,” Tyler grumbled  from the armchair. 

     “Hey, I’m in. Pizza sounds awesome,” Matt grinned, pressing the pause button on the game controller. 

       “Meatlovers?” Tyler asked, perking up.
    
       “Would I order it any  other way?” Blake laughed, pulling out his cell.

        “Ask for Di to drop it off,” Matt yawned, getting up and stretching.

        “Di?” Parker panted from the treadmill.

         “Hot delivery chick, Diana,” Blake explained, dialing the number for the pizza company.

        Matt wandered over to the treadmill and examined Parker for a long moment, before saying loudly, “Dude…you need to stop. You’ve been on that thing for at least an hour.” He laughed slightly. “Don’t make me call an intervention!”

      “Yeah, man,” Tyler said slowly, looking up. “What the hell is up with you?”

       Parker scowled at them and pushed back a damp strand of overlong brown hair from his light green eyes. 

   “I was under the impression that being in shape was a good thing? What’s wrong with working out?”

    “Nothing until you start stinking up other people’s houses,” Matt replied, rolling his eyes.

    “Yeah, I’d like to order two large meatlovers pizzas please. Extra cheese, stuffed crust, the works. Yeah, the address is 2119 Raincrest Road. Yeah, no we’ll be here. Oh and we were wondering if you could get Diana to deliver it? We know her from school, so we were thinking…yeah, that’d be great. Ok, thirty minutes? Alright thanks.” 

    “Is Diana delivering then?” Parker asked climbing from the treadmill, breathing heavily.

    “Yeah, they said she was right there and agreed to it so she should be here in about a half hour,” Blake replied, plopping onto the couch and tossing his phone on the coffee table.

    “What’s so great about this chick anyways?” Parker asked, grabbing a water bottle and chugging about half of it. 

     “Are you kidding?” Tyler exclaimed.

     “She’s f*****g hot,” Matt chimed in, sinking onto the couch between Parker and Blake.

     “She’s better than hot,” Tyler moaned from the armchair. “This chick has huge tits, like f*****g double D’s, or some s**t. Great tan. Long sexy legs. Big brown eyes, blonde hair. Great a*s. Everything. She’s f*****g perfect, man.”

     “Sounds sexy,” Parker sighed, massaging his calves. 

    Matt snorted. “Oh she is. And she’s always wearing these short skirts and dresses so when she bends over you can see-”

    “Blake!”

    The group groaned collectively at the sound of Daniela’s loud voice. Blake hastily pressed the escape button on the laptop and closed it, just in time.

    “Blake can I please hang with you guys? Please. Christina’s making me watch another one of her stupid romances and she won’t stop crying.”

      “I will to!” Christina bellowed running into the room. 
    
     “C’mon Danni. The Notebook is a great movie. And chocolate twix chunk ice-cream is both of our favorite.”

    Blake sighed angrily. Damn sisters. Parker nodded at him and spoke up (thank God). 

    “Look, We’re doing guy stuff in here Danni. And Chrissie needs you. Plus you do love that ice cream and do you really wanna hang out with a bunch of dumb guys?” Parker asked.

    Daniela pouted at Parker for a long moment, then heaved a sigh. “Alright,” she relented, continuing to pout melodramatically.

   “Thank you,” Blake exclaimed, ruffling his little sister’s hair. Danni rolled her eyes and went to give Parker a big hug, before starting back towards Christina, where she stood leaning against the staircase. 

    She turned back abruptly. 

     “But tomorrow you and Parker are watching R rated movies with me. And you’re letting me see American Pie.”

     Blake groaned. 

     “Danni, I don’t think that’s a good-”

     “We’ll do it,” Parker interrupted him steadily, smiling at Daniela. 

      She grinned and flounced off, leaving Christina to smile a weak wobbly smile at them before slowly walking after her.

      “What’s Tina’s problem?” Tyler asked., after a beat. 

       “Her boyfriend dumped her,” Blake replied, sitting back down. 
  
       Tyler nodded slowly. 

         “Oh…”
     
          “Do you know why?” Matt asked, shoving a handful of popcorn in his mouth.

          “Something about her being immature. But she said that’s just an excuse, and it’s     actually ‘cause Chelsea Hale is willing to put out and she’s not, or somethin like that.”

   Parker winced sympathetically, while Tyler nodded dreamily at the image of Chelsea he’d no-doubt conjured in his head. Matt shook his head and toyed with a woven ring around his finger. It was some abstinence type deal. His family was wayyy Catholic. 

    “That’s harsh,” Parker exhaled, pushing around the bowl of Doritos.

     “Can you blame the guy, though?” Tyler asked, still dreamy. 

      “Well…yeah. She is my sister,” Blake replied pointedly, glowering at his so-called friend.

     “Dude. No, I didn’t mean it like that. Well I kinda did…just cause I mean, It’s Chelsea Hale. She’s-”

      “She’s hot,” Blake finished for him, gritting his teeth a bit now. 

   Tyler grimaced at his tone and eyed him bashfully. It was never fun to be a victim of Blake’s famous temper, and Tyler was in that hot spot a lot, leaving him with plenty of knowledge as to when it was time to just.shut.up. 
 
   “He’s just saying that cause Ty’s always had a thing for Chelsea, remember, Blake?” Matt reasoned levelly from beside him.   

   Blake opened his mouth irritably to tell him exactly where Ty could put his thing for Chelsea, when the doorbell rang. 

   Matt leapt up and grabbed his hand, dragging him towards the door. Tyler followed closely, his eagerness rolling off him in waves, and Parker slouched  curiously behind him.

   Blake opened the door with his available hand to big, country-style blonde waves and huge toffee eyes offset by black eyelashes spiked up with mascara that went on forever. He drank in her Lindsay Lohan-like figure hungrily, before his eyes made it back to her face. She was smirking at him.

    “You ordered me?” 

   Blake’s mouth hung open. 

   “I…ordered you?” 

     Matt cracked up, while Parker and Tyler stared, just as mesmerized as he was.

  Diana laughed at him. 

   “I said, you ordered two meatlovers, right?”

    Blake flushed.

    “Oh.”

    “Well? Are you going to take them?”

     Blake was suddenly very aware of another hand in his…
 
      He glanced down to see Matt’s hand still tangled sweatily with his own. He wrenched his hand from Matt’s grasp, his shout of, “Du-udeee!” echoing a bit.

     If Diana hadn’t been laughing at him before, she definitely was now.

      Blake groaned and took the pizzas from her, heading into the game room to put them down on the table. 
    
   He returned to find the Tyler, Matt, and Parker inviting Diana in. She accepted (they had been her last delivery of the evening) and the guys led her boisterously into the game room.

   Blake pressed his fingers to his temples. He just knew tonight was going to be a long night.

       “Hey, uh, guys…what’s that on the laptop?”

        “Oh s**t!”
 
        “Nothing!”

     A very, very long night.


3. Hanna:

   “C’mon Els. It’s just a little needle! Do it already!” Ben whined impatiently. 

     Ellie groaned. 

    “I can’t” she proclaimed, throwing her hands in the air melodramatically.

          “I quit.”

     “It’s not that hard,” he sighed out at her.

   “Experiment over,” Hanna finally interrupted them. “Ben, you need your insulin. And Ellie, you need to go over there and not throw up in the sterile area. Please.” 

    “Fine by me,” Ellie hmph-ed, stalking from Ben’s room. 

   Hanna exhaled slowly, before sliding onto the bed next to her brother. 

     “Ben…no more procrastinating this stuff with experiments. We both know Ellie’s squeamish as hell and it’s not changing any time soon. Just like we both know how important it is that you take your insulin and test your blood sugar every single day. Are you with me?”

      She wasn’t surprised to see a glazed over look on his face when she turned to him. Not in the least. Instead she just grabbed the shot, flicked it a couple times, applied pressure to the surrounding area, and inserted the needle into her little brother’s abdomen. 
 
  He hardly even reacted. The only sign that he’d noticed at all was a barely-perceptible shiver from the cold of both needle and air. He was used to this crap by now.

  Hanna shook her head slightly. It was so hard to believe that Ben was only fifteen sometimes. He seemed so old. 

   She smiled lightly at her little brother, who beamed back with childish exuberance. She giggled slightly at this then shook her head a bit, amusement blooming in her features. Once the shot was over, things always felt so much better. The relief and pure joy following anything of this nature was exactly why she wanted to be a pediatrician when she was older, and why she worked as a vet’s assistant presently. 

   “School?” she asked mildly and Ben nodded, reaching for his backpack.

    “School,” he agreed.

  Together, Hanna, Ben, and Ellie piled into their older brother, Judah’s car. Judah paused to look at her for a long moment, then at Ben, then Ellie. 

    “It’s weird,” He said finally, brushing his fingers through his mop of brown curls absentmindedly, “that this is the first and last year we’re all in school together. Next year, I’m taking off for the Peace Corps and Hanna’s going to be the oldest in the house. And Ben and El are going to be sophomores…wow.”

   Ellie rolled her eyes and padded cherry lip-gloss on her lips. 

  “I think your Jew Fro’s getting to your head,” she murmured. 

   Ben snickered, though Hanna frowned slightly. He was right. Time was going by so fast, slipping through their fingers. How long would even that last? Their future was fast approaching. As her brother turned the key in the ignition and started off, a single question pulled at the frayed edges of her mind; were they ready?

4.  Lucas:

   “Food, Glorious Food,” Lucas sang softly as he dug through the tiny closet of dry food. “Chips, Cookies, and Cereal. No wait ramen or pasta?” 

   His mom was at work (Hallelujah!), which left him home alone (if you didn’t include what’s-his-name in her bed) and able to totally gorge on whatever he could find. Having not eaten since Thursday  lunch (it was now Saturday morning), he was royally starved and fully prepared to devour whatever he could while he had his chance. He was ravenous. 

  Lucas abruptly froze in the middle of heating water for a ramen thingy. His mom’s door creaked open.  Lucas tensed, resisting the urge to run and hide. The behavior of his mom’s various mixture of boyfriends and one-night stands was completely unpredictable at best. They could be remarkably hung-over and achy (these were generally the ones that barked at him for black coffee, took a long shower, and plowed their way through some eggs, then left, with the door slamming poignantly in their wake). They could be naïve, confused, and hurt (these were the worst. The young guys that she’d faked a connection with, usually lied to a couple billion times. Lucas would usually tell them what they’d fallen for, apologize, and they’d eventually leave, the majority after ruffling his hair and declaring him a good kid.) Then there were the ones who woke up horny, with no understanding of the word no, nor the words statutory or rape (these he tended to fend off to the best of his ability, occasionally brandishing a kitchen knife or large pot. It didn’t always work completely, but Lucas could be proud that none had been able to fully succeed in their venture as of yet). Finally were the ones not only suffering from an intense hangover, but also from quite a bit of rage (these…well, they were typically his mom’s full on boyfriends who knew him well enough to successfully hurt him, and could tell his mom on him if he got away, anyhow). 

  Slowly, a man made his way from his mother’s room, while Lucas inconspicuously watched him with baited breath. 
 
   Brown eyes crinkled away from the light, darting slightly, as if attempting to decipher a puzzle. The man was mid to late twenties, with leathery looking bronzed skin stretched slightly over nearly jutting cheekbones. Laugh lines rippled around his still-strong jaw and he had the beginnings of crows-feet edging from the sides of his molten eyes. 
 
  The man slumped his way to the table, eyes focusing immediately on the cup of steaming black coffee and plateful of scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. Lucas watched as he proceeded to gobble down at least three-quarters of the plate, between eager swigs of coffee. Finally, he settled long enough to catch Lucas’s eye. Lucas swallowed hard. The man smiled and continued to eat. Lucas exhaled heavily. It would seem he was safe. For now. 

5. Beth:

 Beth chewed on the inside of her cheek irritably as she listened to the inane chatter of her sister and her sister’s best friends, Chloe Ollin and Alicia Martinez. They wouldn’t be quite so annoying if she weren’t so pissed at the male population in general at the moment, her annoyance being exacerbated as they raved over various guy’s abs. 
  
  “Ohh…I swear Zac Effron is like sex on legs,” Izzy moaned. 

   “Oh hell no,” Alicia pronounced, “That would be Taylor Lautner, thank you very much.”
 
    Chloe laughed. “I think they’re both hot,” she sighed, ever the mediator. 

    Beth rolled her eyes and turned around. 

      “You’re all insane,” she commented.

     Bella gestured her long, olive-toned hand as if dismissing her.

       “And you have to be a lesbian if you don’t think either of them are hot.” 

       Beth scowled. ‘Moron’ 

         “Zac Effron looks like a girl half the time Izzy, so no, I think the lesbian here would be you. Besides,  Michael C. Hall is far hotter.”
        
        “Who’s that?” Alicia asked, brown eyes glittering with excitement.
 
         “He‘s in Dexter.”

          Izzy’s brow crinkled momentarily in thought, then quickly smoothed out. 

         “You mean the psycho-freak murderer on HBO?” she laughed, “Sounds like your type.”

       Beth smirked. 

         “You mean a man? Of course.”

        Chloe shifted uncomfortably on the floor. 

       “Maybe we should go…?” 

        Alicia glanced at her then at Bella, then Beth. 

       “I don’t know Chloe, it’s kinda fun watching them fight.”

       Beth heaved a sigh and got up. 

       “Well, I’m going over to Eden’s now anyways, so it doesn‘t matter. Don’t wait up.”

       “As if,” Bella snarled, tossing a fiery curl and then snatched the bowl of caramel corn Beth had taken from her back, popping a cluster in her mouth. Alicia shrugged and pressed play on the remote, “17 Again” booming forth once more. Chloe gave Beth an apologetic look and slight wave before turning her attention to the screen.

     Beth gripped her jacket, dragging up the zipper with gritted teeth and making her way to the front door. Finally she got it up and pulled out her cell phone, fingers jabbing in precise movements over the dial pad. 

    She knew Eden’s number by heart. It made sense. They’d been best friends since fourth grade, when they were the only people in their grade to get fives on the benchmark essays (which were rated on a scale of one to five). Initially, following the discovery of their similar writing talents, they’d hated each other and competed nonstop. Eventually, Eden proved himself a better and more dedicated writer than she, particularly as she began to venture more into the music world. When the competition fell away, they’d truly been the best of friends all along. Time had changed little in that respect. The only real difference was that, while they’d both been reasonably liked in fourth grade, Eden lost nearly all of his friends (besides her of course) and she gained a great deal more as she delved further and further into orchestra.  

     “Beth?” Eden’s voice sounded gratingly in her ear. She’d woke him up. Oops.

      “Hey, I’m on my way over, ok?” 

       “You’re what?”

        “You heard me Eden. Iz has a bunch of her friends over and…well, I’m sure you know by now how that works.”

        Eden groaned. “Ok whatever. But if I fall asleep, you’re not waking me up, under any circumstances. I don’t care if the damn house is on fire,” he grumbled.

        “That bad, huh?” Beth asked slumping along the sidewalk. 

     “Yeah,” Eden replied shortly. 

      Beth closed her eyes briefly, pinching the bridge of her nose. Eden had terrible insomnia, had ever since…She let the thought flutter away in the chilling October breeze. 

      “Sorry I woke you,” she said airily. 
   
       He laughed roughly. 

      “No problem. It wasn’t exactly a sleep I was enjoying.”

        Translation: “I was having a horrific nightmare. So I don’t care if I need to sleep. Thanks for waking me the hell up.” The ghost of a smile drifted over her features, before lethargy once more replaced it.  

         “Hey I’m here. I’ll see you in a sec.”

          “Well you know the way up.”

        No s**t. Beth fished the hidden key from the tree scar of the oak by Eden’s window and sloshed over to the front door, unlocking it, then rushing the key back to the tree scar, slipping it furtively inside. Then she made her way back to the unlocked door, pushing a loose bit of black hair back as she slowly turned the knob, opened it a sliver, and slid inside, pushing the door softly shut behind her. 

      Beth darted through the dimly lit kitchen to the dark halls, creeping stealthily up the stairs and past the dark master bedroom, on towards Eden’s room, on the opposite end of the house than his father.  She slunk up to the door and let her knuckle tap lightly twice, pause, then twice more, producing a sound akin to a heartbeat. The door opened silently and she slipped inside, the door closing lightly behind her.

     Beth’s eyes met Eden’s and she took a moment to drink him in. 

     Eden’s eyes were brilliant, startling green, emerging from beneath thick, long lashes. His skin was a creamed olive, with dark hollows smeared about his eyes and shadowing slightly at his cheekbones. He had slightly overlong copper hair, hanging in a straight, somehow unruly mop. He was skinny as hell, though of fairly average height  (5”7). His hands were slim and long-fingered, certainly not his most outstanding feature, but one of his most graceful, dancing about with an almost surgical precision. His face was full of angles, very narrow, excluding the emerald that formed his most prominent feature, dominating his face and even his overall appearance. His lips were thin, though the lower jutted out a bit more, giving him what looked to be simultaneously both a permanent pout and permanent grimace. He was the perfect “brooding writer”.eth smirked at him and  he smiled slightly, a weary, tight-lipped attempt. 

     “Hey Beth.”

      She gave him a quick hug then fell onto his bed, while he plopped into his desk chair. 

     “What was it about this time?” she asked finally. His eyes rose, startled at first, then defiant.

     “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

      Beth studied him for a long moment before saying, “Fine. I won’t push you, but you’re gonna have to talk eventually.”

     “Nope,” he said, turning the chair so he was facing his computer once more and tapping a few keys lightly, looking hard at the screen.  

      “Your birthday’s coming up,” she offered. “Any gift ideas?” 

       He shook his head violently. 

       Beth sighed heavily and lay back and stared at the ceiling for a while, listening to him tap away at his keyboard, before bolting abruptly upright. 

       He glanced back at her. 

      “Beth,” his voice was weary, exhausted really. 

       “Do you still have my music on your laptop?”

        “Yes…” he replied slowly.

        “Then could you please, please, please play it? Starting with Jacqueline du Pre’s  interpretation of Elgar- Cello Concerto in E Minor.”

        “As you wish,” Eden complied. Within moments the stirring sounds of one of Jacqueline du Pre’s most amazing works filled the silence. Beth laid back, taking it in like a breath of much needed air, while Eden continued to type away.


6. Parker: 

       “PARKER! PARKER! ….PARKER!”

     Parker groaned loudly. 

     “What is it Frieda?”

      Parker’s fourteen-year old sister appeared in his doorway.

      “Sean’s being a jerk.”

     Parker rolled over to face his sister. 

       “And how is that?”

       “He’s hidden my bras and won’t tell me where to find them.”

      Parker stared. ‘What????’

       “You’re kidding right?”

        “I wish,” Frieda sighed, walking over and slumping down onto the edge of his bed. She pushed a strand of chestnut hair from her caramel-colored eyes. 

        “Mom and Dad said you were in charge while they visited Grandma for the weekend, so you need to get him to give them back. Please Park.”

       He sat up slowly. He had no clue how his family managed to get into these situations. He met his sister’s desperate eyes.

      “Yeah, I’ll take care of it.”

       “Thanks Parker! You’re the best! I owe you after this, ok? I’ll even go running with you at five a.m. if you-”

       “No,” he shouted. Then, took a deep breath, “No Free. It’s fine. You just chill in here for now, ok?” 

      She nodded, owl-eyed. 

      Parker stood heavily and walked from the room.
  
      Sean-Ray was at the table messing with the crazy glue, a lighter, and a bunch of little figurines. ‘So weird…’

      “Sean…”

Sean glanced up at him. 

 “Oh hey Parker, wanna help me melt this s**t? So cool.” ‘Soooo weird, actually.’

  “Sean….what did you do with Frieda’s…bras?” ‘A sentence he’d never thought he’d say….’

 Sean snickered. “I sold them.”

  “YOU DID WHAT???????”

   Frieda stormed into the kitchen, screeching like a banshee. Parker winced and immediately grabbed Frieda, attempting to restrain her. Sean got up and stood back a bit, cackling quietly. Parker inhaled deeply, struggling to maintain his hold on his sister, who just so happened to be freakishly strong for her age, not to mention the whole being a girl thing. His thoughts drifted for a moment to Amy and her words (“you look like you’ve gained some extra weight”). She was also freakishly strong, albeit in a much better, cooler, prettier way than his sister…Who, speaking of which, was on the verge of escape, the vein in her head rearing wrathfully forth. 

   Parker tossed an angry look at his brother. 

    “Go upstairs into your room and lock your door for Christ’s sake,” he commanded. “I’ll be up in a bit to talk to you. First I want to have a word with Frieda.”

     Sean shrugged and sprinted up the stairs still snickering quietly. Parker loosened his grip and Frieda burst from his hold, fuming.  

      “I cannot believe him,” Frieda seethed. “Selling my bras? Stupid little…” She whirled abruptly on him, eyes flashing. “And you saved him? What the hell, Parker?”

      “Calm down,” he murmured. 
 
       Frieda scowled and shook her head furiously, before stalking upstairs and slamming the door.

       Parker stared, dazed, before slowly stumbling upstairs to have a conversation with his outlaw brother, head spinning. 


        7.Ariana:

         “What cha’ doin’?”

           Ariana glanced up from her geometry into the hazel eyes of Scott Wice. He was observing her upside down, suspended by his legs from a railing next to the red bench upon which she perched. His mussed dark brown hair just fell into his eyes and his upside down grin was crooked and braces-dazzling. She suppressed the twitches at the corners of her lips.

           “Homework.” 

            He blew upwards, his hair lifting briefly.

           “Due today and you forgot?” he queried hopefully.

            She rolled her eyes, chuckling a bit. 

           “No, it’s from first period advanced geometry.”

            He groaned, swinging his head a bit and feigning disappointment. He blew his hair up again.

             “Tsk tsk. Ari, you’re too much of a goodie goody. You need to loosen up. Homework’s so….boring.”
   
            Ariana shook her head at him, pale blonde hair swaying with the movement.

            “I just so happen to like geometry, Mr. rebel-without-a-cause. It’s interesting.”

             Scott sighed, waggling his finger at her, still upside-down. 

            “You need to learn what real fun is if you think that’s fun. You up for the carnival this weekend?”
   
            “I was hoping to look through some colleges and majors and stuff…” she began doubtfully, trailing off as his brightness instantly dimmed a bit.”

            “Your loss,” he told her, tone happy but for a sullen edge. 

             She considered him for a few moments, combing her fingers through white-blonde strands in uneasy contemplation. Finally, “When this weekend?” she sighed out at him.

             “Forget it if you don’t wanna go. I know how you like to think about what snooty university you’ll be accepted into.”

              “That’s not it at all,” Ariana proclaimed defensively, blue eyes sparking slightly. “And they’re not snooty. I know you’re not into the whole education thing, Scott, but it’s important to me. Nonetheless, I’d like to check out another carnival with you. I just wanted to know when.”

              Scott paused a moment, then nodded, pulling himself abruptly upright and flipping so that he landed in front of her on his feet, beaming. 

              “Saturday. It’s here all weekend, but we both know how you like your Sundays. And that way we can spend the better part of the day there.”

              “Fine,” Ariana approved mildly. “Call me later with the details. I’ll make sure Dad knows I can’t baby-sit Ashton that day. Unless of course you think I could bring him?”

            Scott considered this a moment then asked, “How old is he now?” 

            “Two and a half. Twenty-nine months.”

            “I think that’s old enough.”

            “Good. If I have to take him, I‘ll let you know,” she stood, shuffling through her binder and finally placing her geometry worksheet within and snapping it shut. “Call me later, k? I’m gonna head over to the library.”

           Ariana gave him a quick hug goodbye, then meandered away in the vague direction of the school library, leaving him to go search out his other best friends, Russell, Will, and Kerri. Ariana allowed her mind to wander to the future. At the moment, her main goal was to figure out a major. She may only be fifteen, but she figured the earlier she had these things figured out, the better. At the moment she was leaning towards something to do with mathematics. Aerodynamics, in particular, fascinated her without fail and she was virtually in love with the mental pictures that so often accompanied attempts to decipher angles having to do with real life situations. However, she was also considering something in the education field. Both high-school principal and college math professor held a high appeal for her, as she would be learning, helping to mold young minds, and having an authoritarian position, in addition to being surrounded by math when it came to the latter idea. 

            She wandered over to the careers section of the library, head still drifting among the clouds of her future. 

        8. Eden:

            Eden surveyed the lunch-room at large coldly, keeping his eyes smartly away from the empty seats surrounding him. Those closest to him were at least two seats away. He observed this scornfully, yet with a simultaneous sense of underlying amusement. He was not oblivious to the sense of fear he invoked in others. If anything, it had become deliberate, something of a game. 

            Abruptly, a clatter from beside him startled him from his reverie. A girl had let her lunch tray fall onto the table next to him. He glowered at her, annoyed. What the hell was this, some kind of game? She was breaking the rules and he was not pleased in the least. 
            She smiled brightly at him, grabbing her napkin and smoothing it onto her lap, then lifting a thick slab of pizza and biting off a chunk, chewing slowly. Her cerulean eyes found his and she swallowed. He glared, eyes narrowing with a soft, simmering menace, though a question mark he couldn’t quite swipe away lingered defiantly, suspended in his large green eyes and morose features. She smiled again and cleared her throat quietly.

            “My name’s Amelia Opal. I’m new here. I’m from Colorado. Boulder, Colorado, actually.”

             She lifted her pizza and took another bite. He stared, momentarily stunned. Was this girl clueless as to the meaning of a glare? Was she really oblivious to the silently bellowed warning of “Danger! Danger!” declared by the empty seats surrounding him? Or the edgy sideways glances of his peers?

             Her eyes met his once more and she raised her eyebrows, blue twinkling and rose-petal lips pursed in bemusement. 

            “Yes?” she asked.

             Eden pulled his gaze down abruptly, flushing cherry red and cramming a bite of cheeseburger into his mouth in an attempt to blockade all further conversation. She laughed, an airy, tinkering sound oddly resembling bells. He scowled through his mouthful of food, frantically trying to think of an escape from the situation without running away and looking like a coward. 

             “You’re funny,” the girl told him lightly, tossing him another of her easy grins. He sighed. 

             “Look, Amy-”

             “Amelia,” she interjected pleasantly. 

             He gritted his teeth.

             “Amelia. You shouldn’t be over here.”

              She gave him an odd look, lips quirking.

              “And why is that?”

               His mouth opened and closed several times before pressing into a straight line.

               “I don’t want you here.”

         Her blue eyes continued to gleam. 

         “Well, I’m very sorry about that,” she said. He waited. She didn’t move. 

          “Well?” he snapped tiredly.

          “Yes?” she asked, eyes wide and innocent. 

          He stared at her, disconcerted. She took another bite of her pizza. He paused.

          “Why aren’t you…moving?” His voice, meant to sound menacing, emerged dazed and bewildered. She, too, seemed confused now. 

          “Why would I?” 

           He was flabbergasted, completely and utterly stricken dumb.  

           “Well….”

            Nothing. He could think of absolutely no good reason. She smiled again kindly. 

             “So, what’s your name?”

             He studied her for a moment, still feeling at a loss. At length, he mumbled his name.

              “I‘m sorry I didn’t quite catch that.” she said kindly. 

              “Eden,” he grumbled.

               “Like the garden?”

               He shrugged, then nodded slowly, avoiding her gaze determinedly. 

                “Very interesting. Well it’s nice to meet you, Eden,” the girl said, voice sweet and sincere.

                He was quiet, though he nodded once more, cheeks burning and ears buzzing.

                She took a final bite of pizza then took a swig of strawberry milk and wiped her mouth, pushing her tray slightly back and crumpling her napkin, tossing it onto the Styrofoam plate. She turned to him once more.

                “May I ask why it is that you don’t like me? I mean, you don‘t even know me.” 

                Eden’s eyes flew to her, staring widely as if in shock. The bell shrilled rustily through the cafeteria, and his glance sheepish, almost apologetic. She smiled, gathering her things. 

          “It’s fine. I’ll see you again tomorrow.” and she bounced away, leaving him staring in bewildered awe after her. 

           ‘Saved by the bell’, a wry voice in his head pronounced. Yet, a small part of him had to wonder: had he really been saved? 

       9. Kiwi:

            Silken black sifted through nervous fingers as Kiwi toyed idly with her locks, eyeing the blank canvas before her. Her hand was clenched about the charcoal pencil, scrutinizing the planes of the paper. Her arm kept lifting, hand itching to begin drawing the one thing she wanted most desperately to not draw. She’d have to give in at some point, she knew, but she’d fight her hardest against the urge. Kiwi was not one to give in without a fight, even when she knew herself to be fighting a losing battle. 

          She stood there, on edge, for several minutes more, hand continuing to twitch upwards until she finally gave up. Her hand went to the paper and almond-shaped grey eyes rapidly took shape, smoldering her soul from within the canvas’s bounds. 

          “Kiwi! Dinner,” her adoptive mom called, entering her room moments later. She smiled at the sight of the stunning sketch. 

          “Hey, Miss Picasso. It’s dinner time.”

          “I’ll be down in a minute or so,” Kiwi murmured.  

           “Yes well, your friend Lucas is at the door. I told him he could stay for dinner and all, so if I were you-”

           Kiwi immediately dropped the charcoal and turned from the canvas. This, she knew, was more important. No matter how much she wanted to continue, this was one of those matters in which the head and heart were in conjunction. She had to put Luke first. Besides, if anyone could help her, he could. 

           Kiwi made her way downstairs with only a tiny bit of reluctance. Colby could wait. Her best friend, on the other hand, could not. And he was far more important. She pushed the former forcefully from her mind. Her best friend was waiting.


© 2010 LunalitSol


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Added on October 9, 2010
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Author

LunalitSol
LunalitSol

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Now a twenty-something mom, wife, employee, and student- still chasing that same dream. Still a writer from the inside out. more..

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Bang Bang

A Poem by LunalitSol