Fallen

Fallen

A Story by Here's What I Say
"

Sequel to "The Bridesmaid"

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I stared out the window, just letting the sun blind me. I could see the traffic outside, but I know it went in one eye and out the other. I wrapped my arms around me even though it wasn't cold. I felt the heater turn on suddenly.
 
"Why didn't you just ask me to turn on the heater?" Barry asked, returning his hand to the wheel. "You didn't have to sit there freezing to death. Not that I know how you'd be cold anyhow." I sighed.
 
"Just drop me off at my house," I said. Barry kept his eyes forward.
 
"Geez, why do you have to sound so excited," Barry asked sarcastically. "Your enthusiasm is rubbing off on me." I turned to look at him for a minute.
 
"Hey, the last time I tried to get your excitement going, you nearly threw me off the stage during play practice," I snapped. "And not that I really expect you to care, but I've just been disowned by some of my so-called 'friends' and lost the love of my life, so don't expect me to be Ms. Cheery today." Barry rolled his eyes and continued down the freeway.
 
I squeezed my arms in my hands even tighter than I did that morning when the stylist was pulling my hair on my sensitive scalp. I turned my head to look at him again. Still staring out the windshield. Looking forward and never looking me in the eye to make sure his message got through. I looked in front of me and saw the sign that read, “Manhattan Beach Exit”.
 
“Take this exit.” I said.
 
“What?” Barry said, still in the number two lane.
 
“Barry, just take this exit.”
 
“That’s not the exit I take to get you home-”
 
“I’m not going home,” I snapped. “Not yet. I need you to take this exit. Just take this exit and I’ll help you get to where I need to be.” I felt my stomach turning. The exit was less than a mile away.
 
“Barry, please,” I said calmly. “Please help me.” Barry looked like he was fighting a smile.
 
“Sure, kid.”
 
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
 
I don’t know how many times I had to knock to get the door opened, but how ever many knocks I made probably would have opened the doors to the rest of the houses in the neighborhood. When Darrell opened the door, to say he was shocked to see me was more than an understatement. I needed a new, stronger word in place of, “understatement”.
 
“Come in,” Darrell said, moving out of the way to let me in. I looked around and made sure I didn’t trip over the overstuff luggage on the floor. I looked down on the floor, noticing a stack of folded clothes piled into an open suitcase while next to it was a pile of messy clothes.
 
“Nice to…” Darrell started. “Um…did you want to sit down?” I looked at him, reading his expression. I wished I could have said it was nice to see him too.
 
“No, I’m alright,” I said, getting a knowing look from Barry before he sat down on one of the couches. I sighed. Where do you start talking after you get disowned?
 
“So…” I started. “How was the reception?” I closed my eyes in embarrassment. As if I needed to know? Darrell shrugged.
 
“You mean after you left?” he asked. I nodded my head. He nodded his head and put his hands in his pockets before he bowed his head.
 
“It was great, Angela,” he said quietly. “Really beautiful. Just like Arianna wanted.” I looked around the white, messy living room.
 
“Where is she?” I asked. Darrell looked up at me for a minute, seeing a deeper purpose in my words.
 
“She went to the airport with Matt,” he said. “To pick up the tickets for our honeymoon. We’re leaving tomorrow morning for the Virgin Islands.” I lifted my eyebrow.
 
“Well, how’s that for irony,” I muttered, letting my thoughts slip out. Darrell looked at me with a sharper look.
 
“What did you say?” Darrell asked with an edge in his voice. I looked back at him. Rehearsing what I wanted to say in my head in the car obviously didn’t hold a candle to the real thing.
 
“Darrell…why?”
 
“Why what?”
 
“Why did you take her back? She cheated on you. With Jason.” Darrell stared back at me blankly as I spoke. I sighed.
 
“She cheated on you with Jason,” I repeated a little slower than before. “You know, Jason? Your best friend? Your best friend since senior year…”
 
“I know who he is, Angela,” Darrell interrupted, crossing his arms and raising his voice a little bit. “I know who Jason is. And I know who Arianna is too.”
 
“Doesn’t look like you know her that well to me,” I said. “Apparently if you did, you would have known about her and Jason instead of finding out all about it at your reception after you’re married.”
 
“Yeah, well, whose fault is that?” Darrell asked, staring daggers at me. I stared back at him, my anger starting to boil again.
 
“Yeah, go ahead, blame me,” I said. “Go ahead and blame me for the fact that your wife went and had sex with your best friend. Yeah, Darrell, I dragged those two into the bedroom, put a gun to their heads and told them to have sex in front of the camera or I’d kill them. Yeah, not only did I make them have sex, I threatened their lives in the process.”
 
“Alright, that isn’t what I meant, Angela,” Darrell snapped. “I meant that you didn’t have to tell me at the reception.”
 
“When did you want me to tell you, on your Golden Anniversary?” I retorted.
 
“You don’t understand,” Darrell said turning away.
 
“What?” I asked, reaching forward and turning him to face me. “What don’t I understand? What am I missing?” Darrell looked me straight in the eyes.
 
“You don’t understand what it’s like to love someone.” I looked him in the eyes in search for a joking glance. When I realized that he was serious, I let go of his arm and raised it to give him the slap in the face that he missed at the reception.
 
I felt a strong hand wrap around my wrist, stopping me in mid-air. I looked behind me to see Barry stopping me from committing another disgusting act. I turned to look at Darrell, backing away from me. I pulled my arm down and lowered it to my side. Barry kept his hand wrapped loosely around my wrist to make sure I couldn’t fire it again. I started taking some deep breaths as if I had run ten miles in those few seconds.
 
“I don’t know what it’s like to love someone?” I growled, tears filling my eyes. “You don’t think I know what it’s like to love somebody more than I ever thought I’d deserve? You don’t think there was ever someone who made me feel so weak at the thought of him, and then when he walks into the room he’d make me so strong that I could lift the world? You don’t think I know what it’s like to want to move heaven and earth for someone so he’d never cry again? You don’t think I know what it’s like to feel so unworthy of someone because I know he’ll never see me that way? You think I don’t know what it’s like to love someone so much and know that he’ll never be mine? Is that what you think? Well, you’re wrong because that’s exactly what I feel like right now!” I felt Barry’s hand grip me tighter and I turned to look at him. Looking forward at Darrell, accusing eyes, stabbing Darrell in his imagination. I knew that look- he threw it at me so many times when I told a stupid joke in school.
 
“Angela, when you love someone,” Darrell said, speaking slowly, “you have to make some difficult choices. Sometimes all you can do is shrug and let it go.”
 
“And that’s what you’re going to do?” I said, suppressing my urge to throttle him. “You’re just going to shrug this off and go, ‘oh well, we’re married now’? Is that what you plan to do?”
 
“What else do you think I’d do, Angela?” Darrell said. “I promised that I would always love her for the rest of my life and that’s what I plan to do. I’m going to stay true to the promise I made. If I don’t, then what do those vows I took today mean? When I said, ‘for better or for worse’ I meant it. You know that I keep my promises, don’t you Angela?” I could feel my guard slipping down. I saw too much of me in him.
 
“Yeah, I know you do, Darrell,” I said softly. “I know you keep your promises. You’re the most loyal person I’ve ever met, Darrell.” His eyes lightened up when I told him that.
 
“So don’t you think you deserve someone just as loyal as you are?” Barry asked. I turned to him with shock in my eyes. He stared at Darrell with disbelief and maybe even pain. It had never even occurred to me before that maybe Barry had to feel pain too. I regained my composure.
 
“Darrell, I know you’re loyal,” I said. “I know that. You know that. But you know who else knows that? Arianna. And Jason. They know you’re loyal. But don’t you understand? You were so loyal to them and they knew it. And what did they do? They had sex behind your back, Darrell. They don’t deserve your trust, Darrell! If Arianna really loved you and if Jason really felt you were his best friend, they would have seen that you placed yourself completely in their hands and that you depended on them! You can’t trust them! If she’s willing to lie about being loyal to you before you’re married, what makes you think she won’t do it again now that you’re married to her? She already has you hooked into this marriage and she knows that you meant it when you said, ‘I do’! She’s using a sacrament of all things to tie you to her!” I fought my tears and my urge to shake him by the shoulders the whole time. Barry kept his grip loose around my wrist as he watched me keep myself from falling apart. When I had calmed down a little he turned to Darrell.
 
“It’s not too late, you know,” Barry said. “The honeymoon didn’t start yet and you guys haven’t had sex, right?” Darrell nodded.
 
“We just got back from the reception,” Darrell said, “and Arianna and Matt left for the airport right when we got home.” I could see Matt’s happy face in my mind, driving in Darrell’s Mustang to LAX with Arianna by his side, laughing and holding hands in the middle of the craziness of the 405 freeway. I knew a tear had formed in my eye, too late for me to blink it back, but I didn’t feel it fall from my eye. I saw Barry’s finger by my eye as he pulled back. Darrell looked even more confused than ever by Barry wiping a tear from my eye than by any of my outbursts.
 
“Look,” Barry said, “what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t too late for an annulment. If you guys haven’t consummated the marriage, you guys can get an annulment. You don’t have to go through a divorce or anything like that. The Church will be ok with it.” Darrell stared at Barry. “It doesn’t have to be this way, Darrell. You can get out of this whole thing, right now.” Darrell stared right into Barry’s emerald eyes.
 
“What makes you think I’d want an annulment?” Darrell asked. My mouth dropped and I’m sure Barry’s did too.
 
“Darrell, didn’t you hear a word I just said?” I asked frantically. “Your wife is a cheater! She’s sleeping around with your friends and-”
 
“Friends?” Darrell asked. “What do you mean? There was someone else?” I closed my mouth. I looked at Barry who had an annoyed look on his face. I felt Darrell’s hand on my left arm.
 
“Angela, is there someone else?” Darrell asked. “Is Arianna cheating on me with someone else? Angela, please, tell me.” I looked into his eyes. Darrell looked desperate to know. Desperate, but I couldn’t feel like he was really hurt. Matthew and Arianna’s conversation and embrace ran through my head, as I’m sure it did through Barry’s. I could feel my knees getting weak on me again. There was nothing I wanted more than to be the one Matthew was holding. There was nothing I wanted more than to make his tears go away forever. There was nothing I wanted more than him.
 
“No,” I whispered weakly. “No, there isn’t Darrell.” Darrell pulled his head back and looked at Barry for confirmation. Barry looked at me in confusion, but said nothing. Darrell stepped back from me.
 
“I love Arianna, you guys,” he said softly but firmly. “And if I love her, I’ll forgive her. Maybe you should try forgiving her too.” Darrell moved to the front door and opened it. He stood there, waiting for us. I sighed and walked to the door. I could hear the happy laughter before I even walked out the door. I didn’t look up. I just walked down the cement path to Barry’s car. I didn’t dare look at Arianna or Matthew- I would have punched one of them if I did. I heard Arianna as she walked to her husband with the tickets in her hand. Barry left the heater on as we drove away.
 
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
 
Traffic was as crazy as I thought it would be as he drove on. I saw him in the reflection of my window. Even though most of the time, he kept his eyes on the road, I noticed that every so often, he turned to look my way momentarily. I didn’t argue with him over his crazy maneuvering through the congested freeway. Dying sounded good to me, anyhow.
 
When Barry got off on Artesia Boulevard, I didn’t argue with him. Maybe he thought it was the best time to get off the freeway. But when I noticed that Barry made a right turn instead of a left from the freeway ramp, I started to wake up. He was driving in the opposite direction from my house.
 
“Barry, what are you doing?” I asked. “This isn’t how you get to my house.”
 
“I’m not taking you home,” he said simply. I waited for more of an explanation from him.
 
“So, what, are you going to make me walk home?”
 
“Angela, just shut up and let me drive,” Barry snapped. “I know what I’m doing.”
 
“Yeah, well, I don’t,” I snapped back. “I don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” He glanced at me through the corner of his eye.
 
“What, are you scared?” he taunted.
 
“I’m not scared, I’m confused,” I said, feeling my heart beat a little faster. “I want to know what the hell’s going on.”
 
“Keep your skirt on,” he said, smirking. I shot him a dirty glance. He rolled his eyes.
 
“Hey, my stomach turns at the thought of that skirt coming off of you anytime soon,” he said. “Just trust me.”
 
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
 
I debated running out of the car as he put quarters into the parking meter. I watched as the sun moved slowly but surely west, for the ocean in front of us. When he was done feeding quarters, he gestured his head towards the beach and I got out of the car. I followed him to the stairs that led to the beach down the hill. Barry had to stop every so often to wait for me impatiently as I made sure to hold up the hem of my skirt and measure each step I took in my high heels. We walked to the sand. I stopped for a second and took off my heels. It was one thing walking down stairs made of flat concrete. It was something else altogether to make me walk in those cursed heels in unstable sand. I felt the sand soak through the fabric of my stockings. I walked behind him for a few feet before I ran the best I could through sand to catch up with him. Then he just stopped. I stood in front of him with my hands on my hips, my heels dangling from my right hand.
 
“Ok, we’re here,” I said. “Why did you bring me here?” Barry looked me right in the eyes- something he did before telling me what a crappy job I did in drama practice.
 
“Why didn’t you tell Darrell?” he asked. “Why didn’t you tell him about Matt and Arianna?” I felt my defenses rising up with my temper.
 
“I think a better question is why didn’t I just slap the living daylight outs of Darrell,” I said. “What the hell’s the point, Barry? Why the hell should I have told him about them? He wasn’t going to do anything about it! You know he doesn’t believe in divorce or anything like that. If he’s so ok with Arianna sleeping with Jason, what’s he going to care that we saw her holding Matthew?”
 
“We saw it with our own two eyes, Angela!” Barry said, frustration building in his eyes. “We saw her cheating on him again! After he took her back for sleeping with Jason!”
 
“Yeah, I saw Arianna and Jason sleeping together with my own two eyes too!” I said. “I found photographic evidence of it! And that wasn’t enough for Darrell to do anything! If he’s not going to believe concrete evidence that his wife is a cheater, what’s our word against hers or against him? Who do you think Darrell wants to believe, us? No! He wants to believe that Arianna’s his perfect little angel in his perfect little world! It wouldn’t matter if he believed us or not! If he believed us, he just would have said, ‘Oh well, I’ll just forgive her’ and go on with his happy, ignorant little life! It’s just a waste of time and of my breath!”
 
“And now you’re keeping another dirty little secret,” Barry hissed at me. “You know what’s going on, and you’re not doing anything about it! I guess you’re right- you really are a dirty rat, you filthy liar.” I slapped Barry across the face, feeling all of the crap I took from him from freshman year all the way up to that moment in that painful slap. Barry glared daggers at me before reaching out to grab my hands again. I dodged him as much as I could, but when he realized he wasn’t going to get my hands, he grabbed me by the shoulders to stabilize me. I fought against him, hitting and slapping him as much as I could.
 
“I hate you!” I screamed. “I’ve always hated you! You’ve been nothing but a chauvinistic, arrogant, bullying, egoistic a*****e!
 
“Yeah, scream all you want, little girl,” he yelled over my screaming and pushing me into the sand. “We’re the only two on this beach! Nobody can hear you!” I wrestled against him, grabbing his hips with my knees and turning him over on his back into the sand and pinning his hands into the sand.
 
“I am NOT a little girl, you little s**t!” I screamed in his face. “I am not any less worthy of respect or care just because I am a woman! I don’t deserve to get put down by you, of all people, just because I’m not perfect!” Barry pushed me over and back onto the sand pinning me down. I fought against him, trying to sit up. Barry really had to hold me down because I found myself pushing up a few inches off the sand.
 
“Yeah, you’re acting real mature right now,” he taunted, loving the sight of me having to fight from under him. “Screaming at the top of your lungs, slapping, cursing like crazy and talking big makes you a woman. Oh, what am I going to do now? What’s this big, tough woman going to do to me?” I panted, enjoying a fantasy of me snapping his head off his neck. But my hands were held down. I remembered from gym that most women had lots of lower body strength.
 
I raised my knee up and kicked him as hard as I could in the crotch. He yelped and rolled off of me. I began to run through the sand as fast as I could, just to get away from him. Damn him and his days as a cross-country runner. I felt his hand on my shoulder pulling me back towards him. I screamed as loud as I could as he pulled me to his torso.
 
“Angela, shut up and listen to me!” Barry yelled, his voice hoarse from before and shaking me and forcing me to look him in the eyes. “You may hate my guts, but I’ve got news for you kid- I’m all you’ve got right now! Your so-called friends threw you over because they couldn’t handle the truth and now I’m the only one here with you! They’re obviously not your friends if I’m the only one standing here with you! I know the truth just as good as you, Angela. I know what I saw! I know you saw it too because Matt was tearing you apart and he didn’t even know it.” He stopped when I couldn’t see him anymore- my eyes had gone blurry, and now Barry was just this watery form in my eyes. I sobbed as loud as the heavens could hear. I fell to my knees, and Barry held onto me. Every sob, every tear, every painful gasp let free all of the pain that had been building up to that moment on the beach. A tear fell from my eye. Darrell. Another tear fell. Arianna. A sniffle. Cecelia. A hiccup. Jason. Matthew.
 
“Matthew!!!!!!!” I yelled at the sky with every breath in my lungs. I kept my face tilted at the sky as I continued to cry. Barry sat there, on his knees, watching me fall to pieces. I felt a cloth at my cheek, wiping another tear. I looked at the dried blood on the handkerchief. Barry continued to dry my tears with his used handkerchief. Then he put his hands on his knees. I stood up but didn’t run. I looked down into the sand, not wanting to see his smirking face.
 
“I’m sorry,” I said, still hiccupping from my tears. “I guess I’m nothing but a child, crying like a little baby. What a woman I am.” I wiped my tears roughly away as I began to walk away. Barry’s hand loosely held my wrist again.
 
“Angela, I…” Barry started. I stared back at him. He looked so tired. Tired and worried. I sighed.
 
“Look, Barry, it’s ok,” I said. “I was acting like a spoiled little brat for doing what I did to you. I didn’t even thank you for anything you did for me today.”
 
“Like what?” he asked. I looked up, expecting to see an arrogant gleam in his eyes. But when I looked into his eyes, he seemed genuinely confused. I shrugged.
 
“Well, for one, letting me use your handkerchief,” I said, pointing to it, while it hung out of his pocket. “Thank you for that. You didn’t have to do that.” He shrugged, looking down.
 
“It was nothing,” he said honestly. I crossed my arms and smiled a little.
 
“Then you caught me before I fell down today when I saw Matthew and Arianna in the hallway,” I continued. “You could have just let me fall. You didn’t have to hold me up. But you did. And it got you kicked out of the hotel with me.” He huffed.
 
“Oh please, like I’ve never gotten kicked out of a hotel before,” he muttered. I lifted my eyebrow.
 
“Senior prom,” he said looking up and with a grin. “I got kicked out because Mrs. Maderson didn’t like my ‘attitude’ towards the king and queen ceremony.” I rolled my eyes and offered my first laugh after so long.
 
“Hey, it’s just a school sponsored popularity contest,” I said. “And Mrs. Maderson never liked anybody’s attitude.” He shook his head. But I had to keep going.
 
“And hey, you offered to take me home today,” I said. “And when I told you to take me to Darrell’s house, you didn’t ignore me and just drop me off home. You did what I wanted. You were behind the wheel and could have done whatever the hell you wanted to.”
 
“Yeah, well,” Barry said, “I had a feeling that you wanted to talk to Darrell, and if it meant that he’d straighten up-”
 
“And when we got there, instead of sitting there and doing nothing, you talked to him,” I said. “You stood up with me against him, even if it went in one ear and out the other.”
 
“I have been trying to tell you that-”
 
“And instead of just forgetting about me and letting me suffer,” I said, feeling tears spark my eyes again, “you went out of your way to talk to me too. You took the time to talk to me, and wrestle me to get me to listen to you.” I could feel something in my throat closing up and my stomach twisting. “I…I needed to hear it, Barry. Even if I didn’t want to hear it. I needed to know you were on my side. Even if I didn’t want to believe it. Real friends are supposed to do that.” Barry looked at me in disbelief.
 
“I’m a real friend now?” I chuckled and shook my head.
 
“If I told you that in high school, what would you have done?” I asked. Barry looked at me for a second before bursting out into laughter.
 
“No,” he said through his laughter. “I would have told you that you were crazy and that I didn’t make friends with little girls.” I sighed.
 
“Cut me some slack, girls don’t get growth spurts the way you guys do,” I said. “And for a while today, I was almost on equal footing as you, right?”
 
“It’s because of those ugly a*s heels,” he said, pointing to where they were in the sand, where I had dropped them. I laughed.
 
“Good, we agree on something finally,” I said.
 
“I thought we had already agreed on something,” he said.
 
“Like what?” I said. He shrugged.
 
“I thought we agreed that Darrell was stupid for taking Arianna back,” he said. “And that Arianna shouldn’t be with Darrell. Stuff like that.” I sighed and sat down on the sand. He sat down on my right, waiting for me to speak.
 
“What are we supposed to do, Barry?” I asked. “Darrell won’t listen to us. Arianna’s sleeping around and we can’t prove it. We don’t have anything.” He sighed.
 
“We do have something,” he said softly. He put his arm around my shoulders. “We have each other. We can back each other up. That’s all we can do right now. We’ll make him understand, Angela. We’ll make him see what’s going on.” I looked in front of us and saw the sun sink into the ocean. The day was over. There wasn’t anything we could do.
 
“Right now,” he said. “We’ve got to get up and get going. I know it sounds crazy, and I know you feel like you’ve fallen so hard that you can’t get up let alone move. But you have to, Angela. You have to keep going. You understand?” I nodded my head. We watched for a few minutes as the sky grew increasingly darker before we decided to head back to his car, and to his parking ticket.

 

 

Sequel "Snowing in December":

www.writerscafe.org/writing/Stars%20Fall%20On%20My%20Heart/243853/

 

 

© 2008 Here's What I Say


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so this is good, too. way too much drama for me! haha.. If I had friends like this I'd probably shoot myself.. It's definitely a page turner, and that's a good thing, and it also has me wondering where it's going. I have questions about a couple of things... one.. what's the timeline? Is this immediately after we left them at the reception? how did darrell get back to his house so fast? or was it something I missed in the first story?

meanwhile, are these stories or chapters?

You really have a flair for the dramatic.. hahah. how much of you is in this story? haha. it's super good.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




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(:
I love this. Dramatic, haha. :)

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

ohhh Angela and Barry? I usually don't read such dramatic girly pieces, but hey I kinda like this. I'm excited to read the next part. She has quite the temper doesn't she. Like Drew Wade said, how much of you is in this story?

Posted 15 Years Ago


so this is good, too. way too much drama for me! haha.. If I had friends like this I'd probably shoot myself.. It's definitely a page turner, and that's a good thing, and it also has me wondering where it's going. I have questions about a couple of things... one.. what's the timeline? Is this immediately after we left them at the reception? how did darrell get back to his house so fast? or was it something I missed in the first story?

meanwhile, are these stories or chapters?

You really have a flair for the dramatic.. hahah. how much of you is in this story? haha. it's super good.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Hmmm!! Very good. I like where this is going. Too bad Darrell is a bit naive. I can't believe that he would let Arianna get away with this. I guess that he will get what he deserves in the end. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

good dialogue in the story. Nicely done

Posted 15 Years Ago


this is a fantastic continuation of the story... i cannot wait to see what happens next to Barry and Angela...

Posted 15 Years Ago


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JC
The storyline again is as engaging as with the Bridesmaid. I like how you have intergraded the truths about how some people in high school feel they need to put up a front, just so they can fit in, but is not neccessarily the person they really are, and it seems like this is where "Barry" is going. Both he and Angela seemed to have been on the outskirts of the "beautiful" people, however, Angela was more true to herself.

I also like how you wrapped the title into the final paragraph. Looking forward to reading the next installment.

JC

Posted 15 Years Ago


I really love this.... Barry is so genuine. I need to find me a friend like that.

Posted 15 Years Ago


Evey girl needs that one guy friend that's a pain in the a*s yup yup. It's most likely that he's one of those rare real friends. I like barry

Posted 15 Years Ago


this was very good, i enjoyed it just as much as Bridesmaid, well written, a lot of emotion. terrific write

Posted 15 Years Ago



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Added on February 6, 2008
Last Updated on October 24, 2008

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Here's What I Say
Here's What I Say

Torrance, CA



About
I was born on July 3rd 1986 in Torrance, California, and grew up there all my life. I had a hankering to start writing when I was eight, but didn't start actively pursuing it until I was thirteen and .. more..

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