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Gone in the Night
America’s sweetheart who doesn’t even have the will to live, Kennedy Bryant, feels her life languishing away. Growing up the daughter of New York Socialites is never what it seems. Despite appearing on tabloids, we never felt like anyone truly saw her. For once she wanted someone to ask her about the thoughts in her head, not about the clothes on her body. Her life was every teen girl’s dream, but for her it was her nightmare. She dreams of living a life, away from the city, maybe in some cliche small town, where the only trace of paparazzi, is the local high school’s newspaper.
Today is the day, Kennedy thought, I’ve waited eighteen years for this moment. She’ll have to let me go, she just has too. Kennedy, of course, was referring to her mother. Alice Bryant, grew up a poor child but married a rich man, Kennedy’s father Ted, who made sure she never had to worry about money again. Alice seemed sweet a sugar to the public, but to her child, she was tough as leather. Overbearing, strict, and high-handed, are some of the words that Kennedy was used to describe her mother. “I do this cause I care,” I only wanted to give you the things I never had growing up,” are a few of the excuses Sliced used whenever Kennedy asked for anything.
“Mom we need to talk,” Kennedy said as she ran down the white staircase leading right into her living room.
“Kennedy not now, I’m busy.”
“But it won’t take long, I just wanna ask you something.”
“Fine, what is it?” Alice caved in.
“Mom, I want to move out. I want to discover a place for myself. I need to fly out of the cage, see the world-”
Kennedy began to say until she was cut off.
“But Kennedy, why would you want to leave when you have everything here.”
“It’s not that I’m not grateful, it’s just I want to figure out who I am, and I can’t do that in the spotlight.”
“Kennedy, do you understand how many people would kill to be in your shoes-”
“Then let them, I can’t handle it anymore. Mom please-”
“You asked for my permission and I said no.”
“No. Kennedy, remember we have guest coming over at four, so clean yourself up.”
“Yes mother,” Kennedy sighed, wavering her white flag.
Kennedy ran up the stairs and into her bedroom, where she flung herself on her bed, in hysterics. This can’t be how it plays out, there has to be something more. There just has too. Kennedy thought as she was sobbing. She opened her closet to get changed, but after noticing a suitcase, she got another idea. She grabbed the duffle bag and started throwing clothes into it. She then found her envelope filled with emergency cash. She counted out six hundred dollars, and then carefully hide it in the pocket of one of the jeans already in her bag. She then got changed for dinner, as if nothing ever happened, and gracefully walked downstair to met her guest.
After the guest left, Kennedy mentioned to her mother that she wasn’t feeling well, and how she thought she needed rest. She then returned to her bedroom and locked the door behind her. She quietly opened her window and dashed down the fire escape with her bag in tow. After running six miles to Penn Station she boarded the first train to New Jersey that she could find.
While on the train, Kennedy made her plan, take a taxi to the closes cute little town to settle down in. She eventually reached her new town, Newtown PA. The quaint little town was silent due to the fact that it was three am, and everyone was fast asleep. Kennedy tipped the driver, grabbed what little belongs she had, and started wandering through the streets. She was alone until she saw a figure standing on a street corner.
Although she was hesitant to approach, Kennedy walked up to the man with a confident stride.
“Hello?” Kennedy called out.
“Can you not yell?” The young man said curtly in a low tone.
“What are you doing?” Kennedy asked.
“What are you doing?” The boy retorted back.
“I’m running away from home.” she replied.
“I’m doing the same, now be quiet, I don’t wanna get caught.”
“Why are you running away?” She asks, stopping the boy who’s trying to escape.
“Look, I just need to get away, ok? Now if you don't mind-” he said trying to end the conversation.
“Can you help me?” The desperate girl pleaded.
“How?” The boy finally stopped to listen.
“Let me live with you.” Kennedy spit out, almost as nervously as when she asked her mother to let her leave, just a few hours ago.
“What? No. Who do you think you even are?” The boy snapped back.
“I’m Kennedy Bryant,” she said confidently.
“Right, and I’m Leonardo Dicaprio,” said the skeptical boy.
“No, like really I am,” she said as she took down her hood. As she did, the askance look on the boy’s face melted away.
“You’re a celebrity, what are you-” the boy said, still in a state of disbelief.
“I’ll explain later, just please help me!” Kennedy exclaimed.
“Fine, but only if you help me leave after,” the still unnamed boy said.
“You have my word,” Kennedy said holding out her pinky to make a promise. The boy hesitated to extend his, “I’m Harrison by the way,” he said before leading her inside the house.
Days have passed. The two teens, who seemed to get along at first, kept butting heads and got into petty arguments every other hour. Meanwhile, back in New York, Alice was worried night and day about her daughter. Even Though Alice was strict and sometimes borderline cruel, she deeply wanted the best for her daughter. As the days went by, her motherly worry, turned into anger. As the days started to turn into weeks and the weeks into months, she had finally had enough. Alice decided to give up on relying on others to find her daughter, so she went out to look for her all by herself.
Everyday was a new headline. At first it was, “Young A-Lister Goes Missing,” then it gradually became, “Star Abducted,” which would be switched out later for “Socialt Goes Crazy.” Rumors about Kennedy started flying. Some say she was a drug addict, some say she had a mental breakdown and went insane, while others believed it was all a giant publicity stunt. Clearly no one knew the truth. While Kennedy made national news, she couldn’t have cared less. For once, she found a place where she could find happiness. After almost a year, the frenzy died down. News outlets seemed to stop caring about Kennedy’s whereabouts. So she decided it was time to help Harrison find his dream of moving out west to California.
“So why did you run away? I mean you’re we're living the dream life. People begging for your autograph, going to red carpet events every other day,” Harrison asked as he started packing.
“I know it seems like I have everything, but there’s one thing that I don’t have,” Kennedy sighed.
“What’s that?” Harrison asked.
“Home,” Kennedy simply stated.
“But you have a home,” Harrison pointed out.
“No, I have a house. What makes it a home are the people inside of it, and the love they share,” She said hopeful tone, as if she was reminiscing about the life she never led.
“That’s poetic,” He reflected.
“It’s the truth, I want to find my home. So anyway, why are you running away?” Kennedy asked, trying to change to subject.
“I’m trying to get away from my home,” Harrison said in a bitter tone.
“Why?” Kennedy asked, confused that he wanted to give up what she had been looking for.
“All my life I’ve lived in this little town, and I need to get out. I hate seeing the same people everyday. I want adventure and a new place to go everyday,” Harrison confessed.
“Wow it’s so weird. We both want what the other person hates.”
“Yeah, good thing we met in the middle,” he said with a smile. “It’s pretty late, let’s get some sleep,” Harrison said as he headed up the stairs. Kennedy laid down, but she couldn’t sleep. She sat up and thought about that conversation. Could she have been wrong about the boy this whole time? Was she starting to have feelings for Harrison? Meanwhile, Harrison started wondering the same thing about Kennedy.
The next morning as Kennedy was helping Harrison get his suitcases ready to be put into the taxi, so as soon as it gets there, he can just go straight to the airport. There was a knock on the door. Kennedy went to answer, but she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw who was standing there.
“Mother? How did you find me?” Kennedy stood there in shock, the one person she was trying to get the furthest away from followed her.
“How dare you,” Alice said ignoring Kennedy’s question.
“But I-,” the young girl tried to fight back.
“No buts. I deliberately told you not to leave, and what did you do?” She snapped back.
“Mother I am not a child, I am capable of surviving and I can be strong. I am-” She began to protest before getting cut off by a sting across her face.
“Kennedy, when I tell you not to do something, I expect you not to do it. Now let’s go.” Alice sternly said before grabbing her daughter’s wrist. That’s when the eighteen year old finally decided to do what she should have done long ago, stand up for herself.
“No. My whole life I’ve been pushed around and forced into a spotlight that I had no intentions of every stepping into. I have been told to believe that I have the perfect life, but guess what. It may be the perfect life for you, but it’s not for me. My perfect life isn’t spending night after night in a different designer gown, it’s fighting with friends over stupid topics, but knowing your gonna get over it after someone cracks a joke. Or spending late nights discussing philosophical questions, like, “what is home?” And that’s what I’ve found.
Home. This is my home now. And if you don’t like it, then I’m sorry, you can leave.” Kennedy stated. During Kennedy’s speech, Harrison crept his way into the room to hear this. Touched by her words, he finally realized where home is, it’s anywhere she is. Alice, it seems, was also moved by her words. She realized that she couldn’t change her daughter’s mind, and accept defeat gracefully.
Shortly after Alice left, Harrison’s Taxi arrived.
“I don’t want to leave now,” Harrison confessed.
“Why, it’s your dream? I don’t understand-” Kennedy tried to say before getting cut off.
“I wanna be anywhere you are. Kennedy, you are home to me,” He said looking into her eyes.
“Funny, I was thinking of coming with you,” she stated in a sweet tone. Then, without saying a word, Harrison walked outside, tipped the driver, but told him to go away. Harrison made the decision that he needs to follow his heart, which is telling him to stay where he is.
The two young adults decided to move to California a year later. And yes, they eventually got married and had a daughter, who was a lot like Kennedy. The only difference was that this young child was raised to believe that home is where the heart is, not where your house is.