Redo of Ch. 2 of Jennifer Octobe: E.R.

October 17, 2009
By , Bradenton, FL
“Is that you, Jen?” The angelic creature asked. I raised my eyebrows in surprise, the most beautiful thing alive had spoken to me and … it knew my name. A mischievous glimmer in his eyes brought memories flooding back to me. Memories of swinging on monkey bars, playing games with TV show themes, catching lizards, and being stubborn. My best friend had a glorious hint of familiarity in his eyes, still a stunning green, and hair, which still had a tinge of orange in it, but he had decided to grow it out instead of his original buzz-cut. “Tom?” I asked curiously, not quite able to trust my eyes with what they were seeing. He’d had a growth spurt and had a chin-length, shaggy hair-do, and I could hardly notice the slight trace of freckles I had known and loved since I’d met him, when I was nine and he was seven.

Hard to believe you could still crush on someone, no matter how much older or younger they were than you. I thought that feeling had escaped my mind after three months after I met him, as our friendship grew, but now it presented itself as readable in my eyes as if it was a neon sign on my forehead. Why couldn’t he have grown up (that he apparently did as soon as I’d left his daycare last summer) to be as ugly as me? Why did he have to be so devastatingly handsome after only a summer’s time that it was impossible not to love him? Why couldn’t I return the favor by being equally as beautiful, so it wouldn’t be so horrible to look at me? I knew the answer: Because you’re ugly, that’s the way it’s always been and always will be. Though my ex-boyfriend, Sam, and my other friend, Carter, seem to think otherwise. Sam is just retarded and Carter’s feeling probably was just an unexpected mood swing that he’d said out loud.

“Earth to Jenny?” Tom smiled as I snapped out of my moment of pondering over questions that had randomly appeared in my mind, placing my thoughts way off topic. Tom embraced me, picking me up from the cot as if I weighed no more than a rag doll. Must’ve been working out, seeing I weigh more than the average 5 foot 3 girl. “ You could pass for 17, Tom.” I grinned, ecstatic as I saw his answering smile, which was truly dazzling. He could actually pass for 21, but I’d never tell him. “That’s ‘cause I am.” He whispered, his smile dissolving as he held me at an arm’s length. “Right.” I said with sarcasm heavy in my tone. His eyes became the frightened expression that he’d often worn whenever I could see his face. He violently pulled me back to his chest, his lips at my ear. You can’t guess how wide I was smiling as I enjoyed his urgency to be close to me.

“Sorry,” He murmured. “But the security cameras might hear me if I were any further.”
“I don’t mind.” I breathed, my heart wildly thrashing against my chest.
“You know those games we used to play, the ones where we had powers?” “Mm-hm.” I mumbled, fitting my head between his head and shoulder, breathing in his scent. He smelled of the forest, which was a difficult concoction of dewdrops, moss, pine trees, and unfertilized earth.
“They’re coming true.” I felt my shirt become damp with, not sweat, but pure water where his hands were. I gasped and he laughed.
“I know I had originally gone with electricity, but there always was a background in my brain with invincibility in mind. So, I’m invincible, but my electricity is enhanced. And you were always the leader, with only invincibility and the occasional shape shifting. Therefore, every one of your powers are enhanced to the highest level and your shape shifting has been uplifted to such a level, it’s deadly.” I tried to interrupt, but he saw it coming and blew a gust of his peppermint breath into my face, dizzying me.
“ You just haven’t learned how to use your elements.” He said, answering my unspoken question. He still sounded like a 10-year-old, talking about “elements”. He was a total Avatar fan.

“So,” I pried expectantly.
“Exactly how are you 17?”
“Shape-shifting,” Tom explained, fitting his chin onto my neck.
“We can shape-shift into the past, present, and future form of anything. So, this is me in seven years.”
“How?” Why does the rain fall? It must be pretty obvious if a 10-year-old can figure it out.
“Just concentrate on it as if it’s the only thing to think about. Here,” He said while gently pulling away from me. “This might help.” All of a sudden, he was on the ceiling, kicking all of the security cameras to the floor with so much force that they shattered before they reached the tile. He leaped to the floor and busied himself with taking my casts off.
“Hey!” I protested. “I’m gonna need those for a few months!”
“You healed three hours ago.” He sighed. I was suddenly glad that the doctors had decided to let me escape the option of a hospital gown, I look way better in my own clothes. I felt a tingling sensation inside of me after Tom removed the last cast, but I wasn’t focusing on what I wanted to shape-shift into. “Gotta go, bye!” I ran to the bathroom, nearly running over several doctors.

After I emptied the tank, I zipped casually, but with blurring speed, back to my room. In mid-tumble through my door, every thing began to grow bigger…. Or was I shrinking?

“Here, kitty kitty!” Tom laughed, closing the door behind me and patting his knees. “It’s not funny!” I meowed. “Wait… how can I still talk?”
“You just can, so can I.”
“Well, you seem to be the expert on these things, Mr. Seventeen!” I replied icily. Did I mention I was short-tempered? He rolled his eyes and ran a finger across my furry, feline spine.

The touch was as thrilling as when Carter had kissed me, but Tom lacked even half of that much tension. I remembered Carter’s eyes, which reminded me of chocolate milk, undisturbed by any child. I felt a slight pang of jealously, why could he love me, as ugly and weird a creature as I was, and make it look as easy as tying his shoes? How come I couldn’t return the feeling, as handsome as he was and as much as I wanted to? Poor, poor Carter… his handsome face filled with friendship, understanding, and embarrassment when I had delivered the words that were burdened with the message of not being able to return his feelings. Why couldn’t I love Carter? Nope, I just had to ruin my friendship with Tom. I was weighed on by the feeling of selfishness, cursing myself to everywhere worth trembling. You can’t just love somebody and that sucks.

I became aware Tom was nowhere to be seen, but I could still hear the echoes of his laughter on the white tile walls. It deeply and vitally frightened me to be able to hear, but not see, my 17-year-old friend that I had only just had a reunion with. I felt a heavy breath wheeze out of my lips as fur and claws disappeared as I morphed back into myself.

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