A Chapter by Julia Murphy

"Natalie, wake up. Come on, you're going to be late for your flight."
The light green walls of my room flooded into my vision. I felt a warm hand on my bare shoulder. My mom's. She didn't look like the happy mother who used to wake me up for exciting trips.
This trip was not exciting. Not for me, anyway.
I guess I should start this story from the beginning.
It all started with a girl named Meghan Crawford, who is truly the bitchiest person that attends Beavercreek High. Apparently, she was trying to get revenge on Fallon Reeves, for whatever reason I have no idea. Meghan decided to plant some weed in her locker, setting it up so that it fell out onto the floor when the locker door was opened.
Turns out Fallon's locker is right next to mine, and I guess Meghan shifted to the left a little bit.
So when I opened my locker door, the little baggie tumbled out, flopped onto the floor, and of course, the school cop just happened to stroll by at that very moment.
At first, I thought he was going to tackle me. I thought I was going to cry. But in almost no time, he had snatched up the bag, grabbed my arm, and hauled me off to the principal's office. The rest of the time, I was sitting outside the office, listening to my mom and dad try to talk the principal out of pressing charges, much less send me to J.U.V.Y.
Meghan never stepped forward to come clean about her mistake, probably because she didn't want to look bad. So I was left to take the blame.
I guess the only thing that never crossed either of my parents' minds was the likelihood of me carrying pot to school, or even trying weed once. I had seen enough of my pothead classmates already, I didn't need to think twice about what would happen to me.
So as punishment for a false crime, my parents cancelled all my summer plans, including the beach trip I had set up five months in advance with my best friend, Paige. They signed me up for a trip to Gran's house at Long Beach. 
Traveling across the country just to stay with my Gran for a whole month. Perfect.                      I sat up and sighed, slumping. Mom sat down next to me, showing a weak smile. I didn't send one back.
"It's just one month, hon," she said quietly.
"30 days. 720 hours. 43,200 minutes. That's a lot of time, Mom," I retorted.
She laughed, even though I wasn't exactly joking. "You'll be fine. You can get a tan, go surfing, maybe? I know how much you like to surf. Gran's still got your board," she said.
I didn't act enthusiastic on the outside, but on the inside, I was pretty glad at that. I did like surfing. I did like my board. And I had always thought Gran had sold it or given it away. Just anything to get that big board out of the garage. But I guess not, if Mom was telling me the truth.
I pushed my dark blonde bangs out of my face. "Fine, I'll get up."
Mom pat my leg. "Good girl." She got up and left the room.
I slammed the door behind her. "Never said I'd be nice about it," I mumbled. 
Mom had already made me pack the night before, but she looked over everything I had planned to take with me. Most of it was one piece bathing suits, and a two piece that covered pretty much everything I had to show I was a girl. I threw all the ugly suits out and stuffed in the good looking ones. I checked everything, threw a bag of Creme Savers into my carry-on tote (a gift from Paige), assembled everything on my body, and went downstairs. 
Mom stood in the kitchen, stuffing plastic baggies and a thermos into a striped lunchbox. She zipped it up and handed it to me.
"You don't have to take the whole lunchbox out on the plane, but I thought this would be better than wasting money on airplane food," she explained. "There's chips--"
"Sour cream and onion?" I interrupted. 
She nodded. "Yes, and there's a thermos of tomato soup, and a ham sandwich with provolone cheese, lettuce, and butter."
She nailed everything... I thought. At least she did one thing right today. I figured she was trying to lighten the punishment. Nice try, Mom. A good lunch is not going to make up for a wasted month.
But I thanked her anyway. She did think I was a pothead after all. "Who's driving me?" I asked.
"Not me," Mom replied as she stowed the ham away in the fridge. "Your dad is outside."
"Why didn't you let him in?" I asked.
She shrugged nonchalantly, and continued to put away the food.
Ever since my mom admitted to my dad that she had cheated on him for six months, she had truly never given a crap about him. She ignored him, probably hated being around him, or even talking about him. She would just try to change the conversation. 
I always sort of knew deep down that my mom seemed like that type of person. Not necessarily a w***e, but just the type of woman would never commit to one man. She likes to shake things up. But I think she sees that, too. She hates it when I wear booty shorts, or really anything that would attract a guy. I think she tries to protect me from that.
The thing is, I vowed a long time ago to never, ever be like my mom. Even before the divorce.
"Well, I'm going, now. Bye," I said.
"Bye, sweetheart." She walked up to me, held my head in her hands, and planted a firm kiss on my forehead. She hugged me for about three straight seconds. "Have fun."
"I will, love you." I slammed the door behind me before she could say she loved me back.
Dad was there, standing next to his silver Ford Escape. "Ready to go, Nat?" he said, hugging me tightly.
I had always liked my dad much more than my mom. He and her were still younger than most of my friend's parents, at only 39. Some people thought it was weird for a 39-year-old couple to have a 16-year-old daughter. They had met in college, and both had graduated fairly early. They got started with their life almost right away. My dad didn't drink, and my mom didn't drink very much until she got a few years into the marriage. Now she only drinks a glass of wine every now and then. They're not big on alcohol, which is shocking to me.
But my dad was still getting checked out by single moms at the mall almost every time we go there. It's pretty weird, and my dad agrees with me. He even came clean one night at the dinner table and said that he doesn't want to get remarried. I didn't ask why. Some part of me didn't really want to know why.
I'm pretty sure that the only woman my dad really ever loved was my mom. And she obviously didn't recognize or even see that. Sometimes I just want to scream at her to stop thinking Dad is just some guy. Some guy she had some kid with. Some guy that she can just leave out in the dust and think that her kid is okay with that.
I threw my luggage into the backseat, threw the door shut, and piled into the passenger seat up front. As I buckled my seat belt, Dad backed out of the driveway and cruised out of the neighborhood.
It was a little quiet on the way there. To break the silence, Dad decided to break out the serious mood.
"You know why you're going to your Gran's, right?" he said.
I nodded. "Yes."
"Tell me."
I sighed. "Because I had pot in my locker."
"Not exactly. You were doing something illegal and you kept secrets from your mother and I."
More silence passed. I decided to break out the seriousness in me.
"Dad, you and I both know that pot was not mine. When have you ever even thought that I would do drugs, much less take them the school with me?"
He sighed. "Natalie, to be completely honest, I know that it wasn't you. There were a couple of unfair frames when I was in high school. Not to me, but to my classmates, and even one of my friends." We came to a stoplight, and he turned towards me. "Look. I'd love to have you stay with me at home for a month rather than just a couple weekends this June. But your mother has already arranged all of this, your Gran is expecting you, and you really have no choice. Even if the pot was yours--"
"Which it was not..." I interrupted.
"Let me finish. Even if the pot was yours, this will make you see that we take that stuff seriously and it would probably prevent you from even touching drugs ever again."
"Okay, Dad."
Silence filled the car for the rest of the drive to the airport.

Dad pulled up along the sidewalk at the entrance to the Dayton Airport. I tumbled out of the car, pulled my bags out of the backseat, and tapped the passenger window. Dad unrolled it.
"You have a good time, alright?" Dad said. "Text me when you land in California."
"I will, Dad. Love you."
"Love you too, sweetheart."
I blew him a kiss and stepped away from the car. I watched him roll up the window, pull out of the parking lot, and drive away into the distance. I stood there for a couple of seconds, and walked slowly into the building. 
I wanted most to run to my Dad's house, snuggle under the covers of my bed, and stay there for the whole summer. I wanted to go to the beach with Paige, not my Gran and a bunch of people I didn't know. I just wanted to spend the summer like I had normally planned.
Thanks a lot, Meghan.

© 2012 Julia Murphy

Author's Note

Julia Murphy
Once again, ignore any spelling/grammar problems. I want critiques on the story itself. I will probably edit this once the story is finished and fix things up (based on recommendations) if I decide to publish the story. Thanks.

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This is VERY good. There is no spelling or grammar issues. This is a great story, it has TONS of potential, just take it on the right flight and it should be fine. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

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Added on April 4, 2012
Last Updated on April 4, 2012
Tags: choosing, sides, chapter, one, juliawrites, julia, murphy


Julia Murphy
Julia Murphy

I enjoy photography, traveling, and writing fiction for young adults and teens. I love to read and stay in touch with all my fans. I live in the states with my family of my parents, my older sister (I.. more..