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Keeping it Real

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Chapter 1: On The Road After Isobel graduated from middle school, the family moved from Scarsdale,
NY to Los Angeles, CA. For the first time, all four children attended private school at the
prestigious Crossroads School. Initially, Isobel seemed to be happy but it was obvious she missed
her old friends and Lucas. The girls at Crossroads were nice enough but Isobel and they weren't
exactly best friends. All the girls at Crossroads were so artsy and unique, something Isobel had
never been and doubted she would become. At her old school, all you had to do to be popular was be
cute and funny. Here, that didn't cut it. You had to be fashionable, smart and most importantly
completely different from anyone else around you. Throughout her freshman year, Isobel worked hard
and became an honors student. She only really had two close friends, Lila and Everett. Lila was a
beautiful girl, with long, blond hair and big blue eyes. She was an amazingly talented artist but
unlike her peers with less talent she chose not to brag about it. Everett had slick, black,
shoulder length hair and green eyes. He was pretty tall and maintained a lean figure thanks to
soccer. Lila and Everett had bonded in 3rd grade in Ms. Meyer's class when the others had teased
them for being "bookish". Now in high school they embraced their inner geeks and maintained good
grades and an interest in learning. They were nothing like Isobel's friends from Scarsdale, but
somehow she loved that. Not having to worry about what you were going to wear everyday or the latest
gossip was wonderful. For the first time in a while, Isobel was truly happy. Riley was an adorable
child. She had the same auburn hair as Isobel but instead of blue eyes hers were hazel and a slight
dimple appeared when she smiled. In Scarsdale, Riley had never quite fit in. She was a tomboy
throughout her childhood, however, that all changed in middle school. Adoration was an
understatement of how much Riley loved Crossroads. She was in 7th grade when she started there and
had no problem fitting in. She'd always been a tomboy but since moving to LA, she'd embraced her
feminine side. She traded in her boy's cargo pants for Juicy Couture sweaters and denim mini's.
She became a master of makeup, doing all her friends makeup in the bathroom before 1st period. And
the best thing was that she had a boyfriend. His name was Ian and he was everything Riley had ever
hoped for. He had dirty blond hair and captivating green eyes and an athlete's body. He lived to
play lacrosse and was confidant that once he reached high school he would make varsity immediately.
At long last, Riley felt like she was one of the girls. Autumn looked nothing like either of her
elder sisters. She had strawberry blonde hair, aquamarine eyes and freckles. Her personality
resembled that of Isobel's. She too was very outgoing and loved people. However, she could be a
bit of a drama queen if things didn't go her way. She started at Crossroads in the 6th grade. She
was smart and thus liked how academically challenging Crossroads proved to be. Luckily, she got
along with the girls in her class very well and formed a close group of friends. Her best friend
became a little girl named Genevieve. Genevieve had been adopted from Ethiopia at two and was the
daughter of a model and a famous movie director. She was quiet and shy; in those respects she was
the polar opposite of charismatic, bubbly Autumn. However, the two girls shared one common interest,
horseback riding. Autumn had been riding since age 6 and had been worried that once the family moved
to LA that she'd have to give the sport up. Luckily, what she discovered was quite to the
contrary. There were stables all over LA and horse shows almost every weekend. She started leasing a
thoroughbred named Midnight Dream and became a regular on the LA show circuit. Genevieve rode at the
same barn as Autumn so the two had met before school started and Genevieve had introduced Autumn to
many girls in their grade. As Natalie and Sam had expected the move had little to no impact on
Autumn's life. Blake Jenkins had dark brown hair and big blue eyes with freckles. Even as a 7 year
old he had a nice, athletic body thanks to soccer and skiing. He was sure to be a heartbreaker once
he hit his teen years. Blake started Crossroads in 2nd grade. He'd always been the shy one of the
bunch and moving half way across the country didn't help matters. The children in his class were
nice but way more spoiled then anybody else Blake knew. However, academics were wonderful! His
teacher, Ms. Greene, was a young woman who was extremely enthusiastic about learning and very sweet.
The class took lots of trips, which Blake enormously enjoyed. His favorite trip was to the set of a
movie. After that trip, the class made their own movie about making friends. Ms. Greene hoped that
would help the children understand that not everyone makes friends instantly. After that project,
Blake began to make more friends and was very happy. His good friend, Ethan, was on a soccer team
with him outside of school and both the boys loved it. Blake also loved to act, just like Isobel.
She'd always help him with his scenes, just as a good big sister should. Over time, Natalie hoped
that Blake's like of Crossroads would continue to grow and that the school would be able to foster
both his athletic and creative capabilities.
Chapter 3: What Nobody Saw Coming As high school went
on, Isobel, Lila and Everett remained close friends. They hung out almost every weekend, whether it
was to party or to study. In the spring of 10th grade, Lila introduced Isobel to a friend of hers
from another school, Julian. Julian was a charming, super smart and handsome boy. In addition, he
was the lead singer of an indie band called Bird's Eye View. From the moment Isobel saw him she
knew they were destined to be together. With her auburn, pixie cut hair and boho sense of style
and his blond rocker boy hair and rock star style, they looked like the perfect indie couple. And
within a few weeks they were. He taught her to play guitar and in return she gave him a little
something extra. Natalie and Sam liked Julian; at long last they thought Isobel had a nice,
respectable boyfriend. Isobel thought he was too, until she gave him her virginity. After that
fateful day on March 19, 2007, everything changed between the two. Julian became very controlling
something Isobel did not. She felt she wasn't good enough for
him, that all she was to him was a toy. Throughout this time, Julian and Isobel continued to date though neither was
particularly invested in the relationship. They were constantly fighting yet Isobel forced herself
to believe he still loved her. It lasted simply because neither wanted to break up with the other.
To the outside world it seemed to be a perfect relationship, but nobody knew how twisted it really
was. Riley and Isobel had always had a great relationship. Isobel was the first person Riley told
when she liked a boy and vice versa. However, in the months since Isobel had started dating Julian,
Riley noticed that her sister seemed rather withdrawn. Gone were the late nights of staying up and
gossiping or throwing house parties while their parents were away, now it was all about Julian.
Riley and Ian had long since broken up but she now had a new boyfriend, Landon. All Riley wanted was
to share details of her 1st real relationship with her cool older sister but that was no longer a
possibility. Instead, she confided in Delia, her best friend at Crossroads. While that was fun, it
couldn't compare to the endless nights of gossip she had once shared with her sister. She'd
never wish that Isobel and Julian would break up; she just wished the obsession would go away. That
summer, all the children except Blake were away on summer programs. When they returned, Riley
thought Isobel was happier and hoped she finally had her best friend and sister back. Little did she
know that her fantasy would not become a reality. Isobel and Julian stayed together until late
November, when Isobel found out that Julian had slept with a girl from his school, Annie. She was
heartbroken and picked up cutting again. However, cutting wasn't quite doing it anymore. On the
morning of December 1st, 2007, when Autumn went to brush her teeth she noticed Isobel lying lifeless
in her room. She screamed and called for her parents. Natalie came running, expecting it to be
Autumn being a drama queen as usual. What she discovered was no act on Autumn's part; her eldest
daughter had committed suicide. Natalie sent her three remaining children off to school and
immediately got Sam out of a meeting at work. Both were astounded that they hadn't seen this
coming and spent the morning sobbing. Natalie pulled all the children out of school early in order
to hold a family meeting to understand the day's events. "Kids, I have something to tell you."
Natalie said, taking a deep breath, trying to keep calm and collected, "This morning, Isobel
killed herself." A dead silence hit the air; suddenly Riley spoke up, "Mom, how could she get to
this point? I just don't get it, it's so surreal." "Honey, I'm as confused as you are."
Natalie said silently, it was obvious how sad she was. She noticed tears rolling down Blake's
face, his lips quivering as he sobbed, "Why did she have to go? Was it because of me?"
"Blake, of course not! How could you think such a thing?" Sam finally spoke, amazed at the anger
his words evoked, "Oh Blake bear, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to get angry. I know this is a
difficult time for all of us." Blake sobbed and cuddled into his mom's lap. Autumn had remained
silent the entire time; suddenly she got up "What do you mean it's not my fault? I should have
seen this coming." She half shouted, half screamed and stormed off. Natalie wanted so badly to go
after her and comfort her but she knew that when Autumn was in one of her moods it was best to let
her be. Alas, the meeting had come to an end. As would be expected, none of the children took it
well but Autumn took it the hardest. She'd always looked up to Isobel the most out of all the
children and her suicide completely crushed Autumn. In the weeks that followed, everyone reacted to
Isobel's suicide in different ways. Riley focused all her energy on her schoolwork and Blake
focused on soccer and drawing. Autumn reacted much more drastically. She fell into a deep depression
and started snorting cocaine on the weekends with friends her parents didn't approve of. Natalie
and Sam remained oblivious to this for a while. However, in February Autumn's addiction became
apparent. The school guidance counselor called Natalie and insisted that Autumn be put into a
treatment center ASAP. Natalie spent the morning researching treatment centers, trying to find one
that would be suitable for Autumn. She finally decided on Another Choice Another Chance in
Sacramento. Natalie was well aware that Autumn would hate the notion of going into any type of
treatment program, particularly one so far away from her friends. However, she knew that some day
Autumn would thank her for it.





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