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Blue Night, Chapter 1
Chapter 1. Rain.
I threw my book aside and watched as it tumbled down the pile of bags and boxes that were piled up next to me on the seat. Landing with its pages folded on each other on the floorboard, dangerously close to the spot where the twins had spilled soda on our last food stop, the book seemed to glare up at me as I tried to ignore it. I let out a labored sigh as I leaned my heavy head against the headrest of the claustrophobic van’s middle seat, trying to ignore my thoughts. The slightly potholed country highway vibrated beneath us, numbing my body. It was at least a change from the constant interstate roads that we had been traveling on for the past few days, and was almost soothing to my body which had hardly moved for hours.
The scenery, in a lot of ways, was like my home; there were houses, trees, buildings... nothing new, except for one major abnormality – constant rain. It was still pouring after five hours. Great. Don’t get me wrong, I am ok with the rain every once in a while, but moving to a place where there was a constant downpour was going to take some getting used to.
Boring is an understatement for my emotions – or lack thereof – on the five day trip. I was practically lifeless, barely able to breathe without being aware of the effort it took to fill my lungs and deflate them in the next few seconds (I’m pretty sure that’s not normal to notice unless you’re dying). I tried to pass the time reading but nothing helped. Please, God, just let me die, I thought to myself, grimacing. Even though long car rides were normal for my family, with my dad and mom traveling for their work, it still takes a while for me to get that zombie-like effect… but when I got there, it was so much of a relief that I really didn’t have the pleasure of enjoying it because I couldn’t feel anything.
But on this trip – probably the worst trip I will ever take in my life – I couldn’t drown out my thoughts as easily as I should have been able to. The window had an almost hypnotic pull to my eyes with the dark, purple clouds blanketing the sky and forest covering everything anyway you looked; but looking through the reflection of my own face was eerie; as if I was a ghost in the freaky surroundings. No matter how hard I tried to look past my face I couldn’t get it out of the scenery.
I plugged my IPod into my ears with the volume up all the way, not really paying attention to the song at all or caring. I stared at my mom’s head as it nodded to her own music – I was finally in a trance and had no intention of breaking it and would probably kill the next person who tried. OK that’s an exaggeration, but it made me feel tough. The first grader twins, Andrew and Lindsey, were in the backseat bickering over something incoherent. Thankfully, I could hardly hear them over the numbness of my own brain and the music ripping my eardrums to shreds.
I hated how my life was going. I hated this trip. I hated my parent’s decisions. Right as I had been finally settling down in Pattonville after being there four years, they just had to make me move. I loathe small towns and that is exactly what we are moving to. I have a hard enough time making friends in a big school, there is zero hope for me to make them in a small one.
We all used to come up to this town when I was younger to visit my mom’s cousin, Sophie, but we would never stay in the town for more than a week; mom said she got claustrophobic there. I constantly ask her to remind me why we were actually moving there. I shook my head in disbelief for the thousandth time and closed my eyes to let the rest of my dreary life hopefully absorb in the rain and die away.
I jumped when my phone suddenly vibrated. I couldn’t tell if I was relieved or annoyed that it broke my pitiful trance. I brought my phone up to my face to see who the intruder of my thoughts was, hoping it wasn’t some dumb forward that told me I was going to die if I didn’t forward. If it was I swore I would break my phone into little pieces and toss it out the window. But it was Dustin – of course.
I slid my phone open and pressed “view”
"Hey Hope, i miss u, it’s so boring without u! Me and Steph snuck out last night and figured out how to get into the river house, so now we have something to do when you come back. Don't kill yourself fallin down the stairs again when u get there LOL. TEXT ME!!"
I smiled as my lip quivered; a tear gently tickled my cheek as it slid down my chin. I quickly wiped it away before mom could see through her rearview mirror. My face scrunched as I tried to force the tears back to where they had come from and I swallowed hard, trying very hard not to make any sounds. I wish I couldn’t cry at all, even though I always felt better after I did; it’s so embarrassing, especially when you’re around people. You could say it’s one of my worst nightmares – to be caught crying in public. But I guess I have been on the verge of tears the whole trip and it was expected.
Dustin was my "life-line" when things got ridiculous; he was so much easier to talk to than the girls were, especially when I somehow got caught in the middle of drama. He seemed to pull me through the lowest times of my life and never complained about it. But there were also Beccah and Steph, my irreplaceable best friends; I never went anywhere without at least one of them. We were all so different but we all fit together like a puzzle.
At a school of 2,500 kids who acted fake about everything wasn’t exactly my happy place. I can’t stand people who treat you like you’re their best friend one second and then they turn around and act like you’re nothing to them in the next second. People tried to use me when they knew who my parents were – a doctor (my mom, Stacy Delaney-Brayson) and a lawyer (my dad, Adam Brayson) and I just get tired of them prodding me for things that I didn’t care about.
Life seemed easier with Dustin around (even if it is annoying) to help me with social skills, because the truth of it all is – I suck at socializing. People have to warm up to me before they could get to know me and I have to make an effort to warm up to them for them to realize they need to warm up to me. Complicated? Yea, I guess you could say that, but that is my personality and I just have to deal with it. Being around Dustin at school was embarrassing for me though. People kept prodding us to “go out”, which didn't seem to bother him much, but I didn't like or appreciate it. He was like my brother – It’s hard to think of him anyway else.
My friends and I were all making plans to be together nonstop this summer, doing all sorts of crazy stuff like breaking into the river house that was down the street from my house and sneaking out. It was going to be awesome. But life was hitting us all in the guts this year – not just my move. They were all getting jobs, getting into relationships and focusing on college and sports. Normal for any high school kid, but it was irritating having to grow up. Not to mention I got the news of our “wonderful move” four weeks before we piled up in the car and headed out to Washington State, just one month before summer started. I felt like I could hardly say goodbye before I was gone. I can't believe this is happening the beginning of my senior year, I thought as another tremor of anger ripped through my spine. I wanted more than anything to stay in Pattonville but
the more I thought about it, the more I got angry, clenching my hands into fists, running over the situation in my mind.When we were packing I wouldn’t talk to anyone except Dustin and even he didn’t know what to say or do; I hardly knew how to handle myself and I felt like I would burst out of my skin with rage.
Despite my silent tantrums, I had to put on a good face now; this move was mostly for mom's benefit. There was a job there for her that she specialized in as a doctor. Mom was also pale white and burned easily so she can't be in the sun for very long; she worked with skin cancer victims which cause her to spend most of her time indoors to get away from the sun. The sun hardly ever shines in Washington, so this was her ideal area.
“Rains every day; hardly any sun, and the house sits in the middle of the woods” mom described the area to us with a smile of reminiscence. Well, at least I wouldn’t have to follow the twins like I had to in the city when they were running off and playing hide and seek – my worst nightmare because they were so good at it and I…wasn’t.
I sighed again. My mom did try to cheer me up, but I felt nauseous when she was telling me of the “benefits” of Forks. I was not going to like it there at all. Something told me that I would hate the small town's intimacy worse than anything I have ever loathed in my entire life...
"Hope, are you listening?" Mom broke my train of thought; she was talking in her normal, sweet voice, but hint of frustration lining her tone; I hadn’t noticed my music had stopped playing.
"What?" I said, my voice cracking from the emotions, I cleared my throat and slid my phone shut. I tried to disguise wiping away another tear from my cheek in the process. Too late – she had already looked back and caught the sparkle of the water smudge.
"Are you ok, Hon?" a new tone morphing her words. I knew that tone – the one she used on me as a secret weapon to get me to open up and tell her my problems. Not this time! I stared out the window to divert my gaze from her penetrating eyes.
"Yeah... I'm fine..." I sighed. I felt her eyes on me again.
“Hope …” she said twisting her body around in her seat for a few moments to look at me, I saw her glance down at my phone, her eyes widening. I followed her gaze – I hadn’t realized I was gripping it so hard that my knuckles were turning white; the case had cracked.
“Crap.” I whispered under my breath as I release my death grip on the phone and took off the broken case, throwing it to the floor. I glanced at my mom and a realization had swept across her face.
“Who texted you?”
“Liar!” she said playfully.
“Just stop, mom.”
“I’m just trying to help, sweetie.”
“I’m fine, just leave it alone.” I said in a slightly raised voice. I tried my hardest to put a wall up between my emotions and her inquiries but she always knew what was bothering me; although a monkey could have figured that out. She looked at me with a soft penetrating gaze before turning back around to focus on the road
“You’re going to tell me no matter what” she prodded playfully. I caved in as usual with a big sigh,
"What did he say?" When it came to boys, she was always too nosey, annoying me to the point of hysteria. She has always been especially bad with Dustin because he was the one guy I spent most of my time with. Relationships were my taboo though and she should know that by now.
"He said 'we miss you’" I said non-chalantly, cutting out the important details like the house – she could still ground me for that, even for just thinking it, or worse she could get the others in trouble. I was trying to avert the brewing lecture I could see forming in her mind.
We stopped at a stoplight as we were coming up to a town on the highway. It was Podunk and seemed old and faded. Gross. She turned around to stare at me while we were stopped. I was intently staring at a sickly cow grazing so that I couldn’t look at her.
"That was nice! I know you miss them too but…."
“Is this it?” I asked in a disgusted voice, cutting her off to change the subject. I didn’t really care if I had sounded rude. I didn’t feel nice at the moment.
“No, we are close though.” She said in an annoyed tone due to my snide comment I guess. “Now stop trying to change the subject!” she said back to her playful tone. I sighed deeply. I don’t know where her obsession of being the love guru came from but it isn’t very pleasant. My mouth is going to stay shut from now on.
"Nothing... Light’s green." I was so grateful for her driving instead of me. At least now I don’t have to say anything else because she had to turn back around in her seat to concentrate. Nevertheless, I saw her reflection contemplatingly gaze out the front windshield – that thinking mood which means that you want to say something but you’re worried the person might get offended.
I was just about to replay the music when she started her all-too-expected speech, letting down my hopes of resuming my previous state of zombie-like dazement. Her lips were pursed. My shoulders dropped and I rolled my eyes as she began.
"Hope, I'm sure you'll find someone like Dustin here. There are more than likely a few boys around town that would love to be what Dustin was to..."
"I don't want to talk about this right now…" I cut her off. The twins who had been bickering the whole time had stopped at my raised voice; it sounded more venomous than I had planned but I was too mad to apologize, so I turned up the music and forced my eyes to look on the outside world, wishing I was running into it and away from the suffocating van. I let the music drown out every other sound. The song pacified me; when the band screams, it’s like they’re doing what I can’t at the moment. I let my mind get lost in the music and I didn’t look up to see if mom was mad or not. I closed my eyes, letting myself become enveloped in the music and drifting away into my dream world where no one could find me except the people I wanted to be in my dream.