Wait Chapter One: A New Day, A New Time

Sixteen-year-old Mandy Watson's hand shot out from under the covers as "Pressure" began to play. She felt around until her fingers touched the "Snooze" button. Her hand slapped the button. Pushing the covers off her face, she stared up at the gray ceiling. The sunlight barely filtered into the darkened room, whose walls were a darker shade of pastel green. She sighed, then used her left hand to toss the covers off her body. She stood up and made her bed. After a quick glance at the clock, she rushed into the bathroom. She then stopped, turned around, and ran to her closet outside the bathroom. She threw open the doors and started to push the hangers aside. She selected a black and white long-sleeved sweater shirt and gray tank top to go underneath. She found her black skinny jeans and red/black checkerboard belt, along with her black socks. She then ran back into the bathroom to take a shower.

Mandy walked out of her bathroom, humming "That's What You Get". She dumped her PJs into the laundry basket. She ran over to her desk. She grabbed her purity ring and slid it onto her left ring finger. She knew she was probably going to get teased for it again, but she never let it bother her. She also grabbed her ring that said "Mandy, I Love You" on the inside and had an alexandrite on one side, a small diamond in the middle, and a sapphire on the other side. She put on her dad's old dogtag necklace and her black stud earrings. Before she walked out of the room, she pulled her long, black, straight hair into a ponytail with her usual bangs covering her right eye and put on her make-up and contact lenses.

"Good morning, Mandy!" Chris Conston said. "I see that you look lovely this morning. As always, your uncle will never lie." "I know that already," Mandy laughed. She gave him a hug, and then sat down at the breakfast bar. "Is Jeremy picking you up for school today?" he continued. "Yes. As always," she quoted him. Chris turned around to slide a sausage and cheese omelet onto Mandy's plate. "Thanks for breakfast, Uncle Chris," Mandy said. "Anytime," he replied as Mandy's other uncle, Jack, came out from his bedroom wearing a black suit. "You really clean up nice," Mandy commented. "Have I never?" he replied. "Well..." Mandy started. "Just kidding! You always look nice. Even If you're going to the grocery store." "Thanks!" he replied. The clock chimed, signaling 7:00 AM. "Got to go. See you tonight!" Mandy said as she pulled on her red Converse hightops and picked up her messenger bag. She quickly ran out the door.

Mandy zipped up her green hoodie as she walked down the stairs to the lobby of her apartment building, San Heights. She walked through the fancy lobby and pushed open the massive, elegant doors. Jeremy pulled up in his Toyota Prius Hybrid and reached across the passenger seat to open her door. "How's my girlfriend doing on this lovely day?" he asked, his usual greeting when he saw her. "Same as always, you know," she replied without a smile. He gave her a hug. "Have you figured out what's been bothering you yet?" he asked as he pulled away from the curb. Mandy tightened her seatbelt before replying. "No. I just am in one of those moods again. But this one has lasted longer than all of the others. It's really starting to freak me out." "Well, I'm always here. Once you figure this all out, tell me, ok?" Jeremy said. “Yeah, I will,” she replied. They talked about random things until Jeremy pulled up to the front of their private school, Rock Skies High School. “You have a good day, ok?” he told her. "You know it," she replied as she unbuckled herself. Jeremy leaned over and quickly kissed her on the cheek. He had been told as soon as they had started dating, she wouldn't like it if he kissed her on the lips. She was saving her first kiss for her wedding day and he totally respected that. She, naturally, smiled and got out of the car, shutting the door behind her. As she hopped onto the curb, she turned around and quickly waved to her boyfriend before he pulled away to find a parking spot. Taking a deep breath in, she walked up the steps into the school.

"There you are! I've been waiting for you for forever!" Alex said to Mandy as she walked up to her locker. "Are you ever going to change that greeting of yours?" Mandy asked as she did her combo and opened her locker. "Nope. You're going to have to deal with it." Alex replied. "I figured," Mandy laughed. For no reason whatsoever, Mandy always smiled when Alex was around. Even if it was for a short time, Mandy would be happy. Just then the first warning bell rang. "Got to go. See you at lunch, my weirdo friend!" Mandy called as she headed off to the gym for 1st period PE.

Mandy walked down the hall back to her locker to get her books for history. It wasn't her favorite subject. But if she planned on getting a full-ride scholarship to college, she had to work hard in all of her classes. She walked into the classroom and sat down at her desk. "How are you today?" Alex asked. "Same as yesterday," Mandy replied. Before Alex could ask why, Mr. James walked in. "Now I know you are excited for this four-day weekend. So I have decided to have no homework and to let you all talk all period long. Enjoy," he said. Cheers exploded from the students. Mandy and Alex both stood up and walked over to Mr. James' desk. "Here are your library passes, girls," he told them, handing over two slips of paper. "Thanks," the girls replied. Every time the girls had a free period, they always went to the library to finish up work. Luckily, it was seventh period, so the girls were excited about not having any homework to do this weekend. The girls placed their binders on a table and got to work. Mandy finished her work before ten minutes had passed. Alex finished not long after. The girls grabbed their books and went to their lockers to grab their bags. After putting everything they needed in their bags, they went back to the library to talk. "Seriously, Mandy. I would consider counseling," Alex advised. Mandy gave her a glare before replying. "You know how many times I've been there and done that. It never works." “How come? It usually works for other people,” Alex asked. “I’m special. Not even the best magician in the world could hypnotize me into thinking that counseling would work,” Mandy said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Well, you should at least try to figure out why. Then someone could help you. Like Jeremy,” Alex told her. “Jeremy is already worried about me enough. I don’t want to worry him anymore than necessary,” Mandy replied. Then the bell rang. “He will be fine. He’s been your boyfriend for two years now. You two are inseparable. It could turn out that he will be the only person to help,” Alex advised as the girls grabbed their bags and walked toward the front of the school. “Not only him, but also a strong faith. That’s what is keeping me from going to rock bottom at the moment,” Mandy replied as they sat down on a bench outside the school, waiting for Jeremy to pick them up. “You’re right. You can’t rely on people alone. I don’t know where I would be if you didn’t come along,” Alex said. “Um, in a jail cell, probably. You know that you were almost going to do some pretty illegal things before I came along and told you about my faith. Good thing you didn’t ignore me,” Mandy told her. Alex laughed and agreed. Jeremy pulled up to the front steps. “Hey guys!” he called to get the girls’ attentions. The girls waved and walked over to get in his car. “So, where are we going today?” Alex asked. “The retirement home. The rest of the youth group will meet us there later,” Jeremy replied. Everyone got buckled and Jeremy drove off.

“And my granddaughter looked just like you,” an elderly woman named Ellen told Mandy. “Really? I was always told I looked like my mother. Too bad she’s not here to see me grow up,” Mandy replied. “Did she die?” Ellen asked. “Yes. It wasn’t long after I was born. I miss her and my dad, too. He died from accidentally shooting himself. But at least it wasn’t suicide or murder,” Mandy told the elderly woman. Ellen nodded. “I agree with you there. My friend’s son was murdered by his cousin due to gang violence. Then her brother committed suicide. He was a police officer on patrol that night in the same area. He was overwhelmed that he wasn’t able to prevent that from happening. He ended up shooting himself with his own gun in his patrol car. No one could save him,” she said. ”That’s really sad. Why did her nephew kill her son?” Mandy asked out of curiosity. “Her son had found out his cousin was involved in a gang. He had gone there that night to try and talk his cousin out of it. His cousin got mad and shot him. Her nephew is in jail for life for the murder, gang, weapons, and drug charges. I visited him recently. I want him to at least repent before he dies,” Ellen said. “What if I talked to him? I could see if I could change anything,” Mandy asked. Ellen nodded and wrote down the important information Mandy needed to know. Soon afterwards, the clock rang five p.m. “See you next time, Mandy!” Ellen waved. “I’ll see you next time. Then you can teach me how to knit,” Mandy replied as she got up and waved goodbye as she met up with the rest of the group. “Great job today, everyone!” Lenny, the youth group leader, said. Everyone dispersed and went to their cars. Jeremy first dropped Alex off, then Mandy. “You’ll be fine. Trust me,” Jeremy said as he parked his car in front of her apartment building. “I know.” She unbuckled herself. Jeremy gave her a goodnight kiss on the cheek and she got out. Jeremy made sure she walked inside the building before he pulled away. “I hope she’ll be okay,” he thought as he drove himself home.

Mandy unlocked the door to her apartment. She let herself in to find that it was empty. After a quick look around, she spotted a note on the refrigerator. She left her things in her room and read the note on the fridge. “Hey Mandy. Jack and I forgot about a company party tonight. We won’t be home until later than expected. I made your favorite pasta and left the container in the fridge for dinner. See you later. -Uncle Chris,” the note read. Mandy left the note on the fridge and changed into her new PJs for the next week. She removed the make-up on her face and put on her black and red striped slippers. She returned to the kitchen and heated her dinner. After that was done, she went over and sat at the breakfast bar. She said a silent prayer and ate her dinner. Then she cleaned her plates off and put them in the dishwasher. She went to her room and turned on the TV. She found that her favorite movie, Finding Neverland, was on. She watched the movie until it ended. Then she turned off the TV and slid off her slippers before pulling the covers up over her shoulders. As she drifted off to sleep, she wondered if she would ever find the reason she was depressed.





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