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“Haley, are you you’re alright?” my mother fretfully called out to me. I rolled my eyes as I stared out my little window perch in my room. It was like a mini-balcony built into the house by the builders back in the sixties. The sky was clear and sunny and a deep blue, I had felt at peace before my mom had called.
“Yeah Mom! I’m perfectly fine. I just wished you’d quit worrying about me all the time. I think I’d know if I was dying!” I shouted back. I rolled my eyes and turned back to the young day. The birds with flying, two specifically gliding, side by side. I smiled, feeling like nothing could be wrong with life.
Then my phone rang.
I rolled my eyes as I yanked it from my jean pocket. Probably just another text from Miranda.
I tapped the ‘Read’ button on my touch screen phone. It was a message from this guy I barely knew from school, Derek Newman. He was asking I wanted to go out with him. I smiled in spite of myself. Derek was a sweet guy with short blonde hair and chocolate brown eyes. He had this one brown spot on his cheek. He was cute.
sure, I texted back, then shoved my phone back into my pocket. The two acres of my parent’s land lay peacefully before me, seeming to swallow and enjoy my happiness. Then I got another text.
I mean like now. in an hour. OK?
I blushed. I confirmed the time and place and called to mom that I had to get ready.
My Mom and I decided that a more natural look would be best for a first date. My light brown hair was straightened and my ends were chopped off. My bangs fell slanting across my face. We put it up in a neat bun, with fake diamonds inserted to hold it. I had light purple eye shadow on. I never needed blush; I had rosy cheeks. My lips were a natural dark red, so we just added pump and gloss. I only curled my eyelashes; no mascara.
I picked a nice light purple dress that slanted from a long sleeve on one side to no sleeves on the other. The sleeve was rippled a the end, where my wrist to my knuckles were.
Mom had two jobs. She worked as a limo driver and a carpenter, leaving her with a slightly but attractive muscular build. She took advantage of the first job and drove me to the Italian restaurant, called Linguini’s, in a shiny black limo. I check my pink-and-silver watch for the time. Seven forty-one. I sighed. I was early. I walked to the front, waved good-bye to my retreating mother, and entered the restaurant. Heavenly perfect smells wafted like some jerk was forcing temptation. I asked if a reservation was there for a Derek Newman or a Claire Monikea. To my surprise, Derek was already there. He had put our name under ‘Claire and Derek’.
I was led to a nice table with a white clothe put over it. A vase with blue roses sat gleefully in the center, befriended with tall, skinny candles. A handsome Derek Newman was sitting with his chin in his hands. He smiled when I approached. I blinked, inwardly surprised. He didn’t seem to shocked at my appearance.
Another date, another girl. I thought bitterly. I smiled despite this. I sat myself and told the waiter to get me a sweet tea. I was carefully eye the knife before. I looked myself over. Not bleeding. Not bruised.
“Early enough?” Derek asked lightly, a certain teasing mood lulling me to smile wider in his tone. I nodded and laughed a little. He smiled at me. I was confused. Normally guys wouldn’t just sit there and stare at me. Normally they would be making jokes like some kind of psycho comedic tornado. This guy was just sitting there, enjoying my ccompany. This had never happened.
That didn’t mean I didn’t relish in it.
I told the waiter I wanted a stuffed mushroom and Derek looked at me in surprise. He order a steak sandwich. I grinned. My father used to make steak sandwiches all the time. Before the accident, of course....
We talked then gossiped and then he began to linger onto a new and more frightening topic.
“So.. why do you keep looking yourself over?” he whispered softly, hauntingly.
I blushed brightly and said,
“I don’t think you’d like to know.” Derek smiled lamely.
“Why not? What could be so bad to constantly make sure you weren’t broken or bleeding?
I couldn’t help blurting out, “Am I?”
The food came. We ate in silence. When done, Derek paid the bill and walked me out. Then he spoke.
“What’s wrong with you?” he whispered. I blushed brightly again and rubbed my arm.
“Nothing,” I muttered. He stared at me. He then grabbed my arm so hard I could feel my skin tighten and my bone rubbing against my skin. I had no reaction.
“You don’t feel that?!” he demanded, squeezing my arm harder. No sensation came to me except for the fact his skin was very smooth and that my arm was tightening and that when I looked at my arm, it was bruising. I sighed.
I smacked him away from me.
“What do you want me to say? That I’m a freak? That my dad died because of this freakin’ disease? You want to hear me go on and on about how freakin special I am? Well no. No, ok? Go freakin’ die or something, you don’t care and I certainly don’t!” I shouted. I had stopped walking with him to shout at him, and now I was marching like I was furious, but truly I was very depressed. I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder.
“If you don’t care,” he said with so much tenderness that I choked on a sob.
“Then why did you keep checking yourself over to make sure with hadn’t killed yourself?”
He hugged me. Then he gently pulled me away and kissed me.
“I think that you’re alright,” he said cheerfully as he pulled away. My mom had puled up long ago and had been watching us make out for ten minutes.
I could barely smile back.
“C-call me l-later,” I stuttered, surprised by the entire evening.
On the ride home, my mom asked that dreaded question.
“How’d it go?”
I smiled and said,