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Behind Closed Doors
“I can’t believe you convinced me to come here with you.” I grumble miserably from the passenger seat of my best friend Missy’s car. She gives me a sideways scowl and lightly slaps the side of my head.
“Oh, come on, Alana!” She pleaded for the four- hundredth time in the last ten minutes, “It’ll be so much fun. Everyone will be there!”
“But I don’t like everyone.” I growl under my breath, slumping lower into the seat. Missy gives me one of her sly smiles.
“Ya know, I heard from Katy who heard from Miranda who was talking with Matt that Alex is gonna be there!” When I didn’t say anything, she continued talking, “You know, the Alex? Alex Luca? The same Alex Luca who you draw pictures of in your math notebook?” I still don’t answer, though, secretly, deep inside, my heart gives a little leap. I do really like Alex. And I do draw pictures of him in my notebook. Especially his eyes. They are the most captivating, sensitive, gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen…
“Alana! Are you even listening to me?” Missy snaps me out of my mind- babble. I turn to her and shake my head slightly. She gives me an exasperated sigh, “I was saying that I think it is a good thing you are coming. I mean, lately, you’ve been so… I dunno… quiet.”
“I’ve always been quiet.” I point out.
“I know, but,” She sighs again, trying to think of what to say, “Alana. I’ve been your best friend since we were in second grade. I was there for you when you fell off your skateboard in fourth grade and broke your arm, and you were there for me during that whole divorce with my parents. We’ve been through everything together, and I just don’t want to see you so upset anymore. So, come on! Let’s rock this party!” She shouts cheerfully as we pull up to the huge white house of Matthew Rider. I instantly felt my stomach drop at the sight of all the cars lined up and down the street. I’ll admit it, I’ve never been a very social person. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. If it wasn’t for Missy, I would probably have no social life. Missy looks over at me, and gives her one of those genuine, warm smiles of hers. She grabs my hand and squeezes it comfortingly.
“Alana. You know me. You know I would never lie to you. So I want you to listen, and listen well. You are amazing. You are beautiful and tonight, no one is going to judge you.” She smiles again, this time jokingly, “Seriously, you look fantastic. It’s a good thing I showed up early at your house to help you fix up your outfit. You looked nice, but now you look hot.” I couldn’t resist smiling. It’s true. Missy showed up at my door twenty minutes early and nearly killed me when she saw I was just wearing my torn up black skinny jeans, tank top, the Black Parade jacket I got at a My Chemical Romance concert, and favorite pair of high tops. Needless to say, I was instantly ‘Missified’ as I like to call it. I now stepped out of her red convertible Volkswagen Beetle wearing my short black skirt, lime green tube top, and black and lime green striped tights. I convinced her, though, to let me keep my Black Parade jacket on. Missy, on the other hand, was wearing her favorite spaghetti strap, pink, sparkly, dress that fell about four inches above her knees. She smiled confidently at me, looped her arm through mine, and half- walked, half- dragged me up Matt’s driveway.
Once inside, Matt was directing people into his basement for the party, giving out high fives to all the guys that entered and hugs to every girl. As he hugged Missy tightly, I half expected that he would just avoid me, but, surprisingly, he pulled me into the same warm embrace. When he finally let go, he smiled.
“Hey, Alana! Wow, you look awesome! Happy you came.” I mumbled a quick, embarrassed ‘thanks’ before hurrying down the basement stairs after Missy. Had Matt Rider, one of the most popular guys at school, really said hi to me and complemented me?
Missy and I enter the basement, and the best way I can describe it is that was magically transformed from a nice, finished basement to a small club. Colored strobe lights were flashing and spinning around the room, casting gaudy shadows on the white walls and giving all of the partygoers on the dance floor a ghastly pallor of various neon lights. Music was thumping loudly in the small area, some popular beat from the Top 40, probably a song by Ke$ha or Lady Gaga or some crap like that. I went over and sat down at the end of one of the long white couches pushed aside in the corner, trying to get as far away from the couple at the other end who were attached permanently by the lips. I sighed and gave Missy a reassuring smile as she headed out onto the dance floor. I pulled out my green iPod Nano from my pocket and decided to play my own music. In a couple of hours I’ll tell Missy I’m tired and head home early. So much for being the life of the party.
Halfway through my favorite Nirvana song, Lithium, Missy pulls my headphones out from my ears and grabs my hand, leading me off the couch. I noticed that the music had been turned down and there was a small crowd gathering near one wall.
“What’s going on?” I whisper to her as she bounces with excitement. She opens her mouth to answer, but just as she did, Katelyn Cates stepped into view and shouted,
“Time for seven minutes in heaven!” A cheer broke out from the small crowd, but I stared at Missy in horror.
“Missy… you’re not gonna make me….” But it was too late. Katelyn came bounding up to me with all of her unnatural bubbly-ness, and shoved large black trash bag into my face.
“Come on, Alana. You get to go first. Pick one, but no peeking!” Everyone’s eyes were on me as I tentatively reached into the big bag and closed my fingers around one of the many little items in it.
“Um, a pair of snakebites?” I rack my brain, trying to think which guy in either my sophomore classes or Matt’s junior classes had snakebites. I couldn’t name any off the top of my head.
“That would be me.” From across the room, a guy stands up. His black hair covers one of his piercing blue eyes and I notice he has green and purple highlights running through his hair. He is wearing one of the short- sleeved black shirts with the pattern on it that makes it look like a tuxedo, but this one appears to be splattered with faux blood. On his face, he wore a reckless, crazy grin. Oh great, I picked the bada**.
I look up at him as we enter the closet and the door is shut behind us. I fumble around for a second before finding a light switch and turning on the dim light above. He’s smiling at me, and I shift uncomfortably from side to side.
“Here are your snakebites back,” I put the two black lip rings into his open hand.
“Thanks, but I’ll keep them out for now. They’re really a hassle when it comes to kissing.” The way he said it made a small shiver of excitement run down my back, but I suppressed it from showing.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you around school yet. Are you new?” I ask after a moment of silence.
“Yeah, I moved here from .L.A to finish off my junior and senior year. My name’s Nolan. What about you? I don’t think I see you that much either.” Oh, so he’s a junior.
“Um, my name is Alana. Uh, I go here, I’m a sophomore. And I guess I just kinda stay under the radar a lot.” I look down at my high tops converse, too embarrassed to look up at Nolan. He obviously is more outgoing than me. I feel his warm fingers lift my chin up to look at him. His eyes are flashing and his mouth is twisted into a cocky grin. It made me a little more than nervous.
“Now, Alana. You know we aren’t playing twenty questions in here.” As if in slow motion, I watch him lean in closer to me, mouth parted slightly. And in a total moment of blind terror, I felt my own hand reach out, ready to slap him. With catlike reflexes, he hand shot out and caught mine.
“There’s no reason to play so rough, love.” He whispered enticingly. With the same speed, he grabbed me by my wrists before I could react and pressed them to the wall, his fingers still around them. The sleeves on my Black Parade jacket were hitched up now, exposing my raw wrists. I let out a yelp of pain as Nolan’s fingers brushed over them. Alarm and panic flashed through his eyes and he instantly let go of me, standing back.
“What’s wrong? I didn’t hurt you, did I? I mean, I didn’t think I held on too tightly or something, did I? I’m sorry.” He was looking at me, confused and upset. I shrugged it off and pushed my sleeves back down.
“No, it’s okay. It’s nothing.” I mumble, wanting desperately for a topic change. Nolan sensed something, and those piercing blue eyes flashed with suspicion. Without looking at me, he spoke.
“Alana. Show me your wrists.” His voice was quiet and controlled. I tried to keep my voice just as calm, but an edge of panic found its way into my voice.
“No. I won’t!” He came closer now and he looked almost angry, but still controlled. Inside of me though, I was freaking out.
“Show me your freaking wrists, Alana!”
No! You can’t make me!” I shouted, like a child.
“Fine!” I finally scream, much louder than I intended, “Fine!” I repeated harshly through tears and slumped down against the wall, sobbing. Not daring to look at Nolan, I thrust my right arm at him, and felt his warm fingers roll up my sleeve. It is silent except for small squeaking sobs from me as Nolan stares at my slashed wrist covered in newly- made scars. I feel so ashamed, so embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to know about my secret. Even Missy, my best friend in the whole wide universe, didn’t know. And now, some upperclassman that I just met knew my big, ugly secret. I bet he thought I was a freak. A suicidal, insane freak. I stood up, ready to run out the door and demand that Missy take me home that instant when Nolan did something that I wouldn’t have expected in a million and five years. He kissed me.
It was a slow, caring kind of kiss. He had put his hand on the door knob, not letting me get out of the closet, pushed a strand of my raven hair out of my face, and pulled me close to him until we were pressed together and I could feel his heartbeat against my chest. At first, I went rigid, shocked, but then the surprise wore off and I slowly moved my arms up around his neck. I could taste my tears on our lips, but I had stopped crying now. After what felt like an eternity of bliss, we slowly pulled back from each other. I stared into the fantastic eyes, all memories of Alex wiped away from my memory with our one kiss. He stared at me with such a sincere and loving look that it made my heart melt.
“I won’t let anything hurt you, ever again, Alana.” The way he said it, the way he held me and touched me with such love and passion and care, making me feel like the most precious thing in the world, made me believe. Made me believe, for the first time in a long time, that everything was going to be okay.
We were still kissing when Katelyn pulled the door open, and didn’t even stop when Matt took a picture and Missy gave an ‘Aww!’ followed by a ‘Get a room!’ from someone in the crowd. None of them mattered, though. All that mattered in the world was Nolan and me. And I never wanted it to change.