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Author's note: My mother suffers from Lupus which is why I chose this disease for Wynter's character. The other part of Wynter, apart from her disease is based around me. Even the name, Wynter is my pen name and it fits her character quite perfectly. She has the self esteem problems I do and has the same yearning for love that I do.
Wynter Elise Tomson,
That's my name. That's the name that is on my birth certificate. It's the name that my Shakespeare loving mother picked out for me, much to my father's dismay. It makes people look at me weird when they first look at me, then they get a better look at me and realize why the name fits so well. The winterness of my pale skin, blending in with my pale blue eyes, striking under my ash blonde hair. I look like I was birthed in the soft, white snow. And my bones are just as fragile and cold. They're just as sickly as a soul would be, dressed in frozen nothingness.
I have a sickness, a disease, a curse swimming my body and my veins. Their poison fingering through my organs and my joints, breaking them and freezing them. My bones hurt me all the time, my eyes are always heavy. My skin will break in little butterfly patches, but they're not beautiful, they're gross and red and flaky. It's like my body is peeling apart like wet paper. I've always had to hide in the darkness because then the brightness of the sun makes the butterflies grow and be even more mad.
My hair is like soft little whispers, it's there and then it's not. It falls and drifts to the ground and just reminds me of how much more disgusting I really am.
The only reason I'm probably still alive is because they keep shoving medicine into me, if not then it'll all be over. They need to fix me, because I need fixing. I'm a broken thing that needs to be mended, but some pieces are so small sometimes that you just can't fix them.
I can hear the alarm clock, but I'm not going to hear it. I don't want to get up, I'll be so tired throughout the day. Even if I had a full 9 hours of sleep. It's one of the joys of having my disease. But as far as anyone is concerned, I don't have a disease, I'm just a sickly weak person.
No one except my family and my VERY close friends know about it's existence. My mom has always wondered why I never tell anyone, but I just don't. I don't want to admit that I'm sick. I don't want the attention, negative, that I know would come if anyone knew about the butterflies.
The gross butterflies.
The flaky wings.
The red bodies.
The disease that spreads all over me.
I never want anyone to know about it, unfortuantley there's no cure so I just hide it from the world. I limp around and weave stories of pulled muscles, limbs still in slumber, etc. It's no surprise that I have never had a boyfriend, they all probably think I have some weird STD or something. I can't decide which is worse, people finding out the truth or believing the rumors.
I rise from the warm confines of my bed and immediatley the cold air finds me. I stretch and feel the soreness in my bones but I'm used to it; I can hear their distant creaking. I go to my closet and pull out my favorite purple sweater, usually people look at me weird when I wear winter clothes year round but since it's the beginning of October, I shouldn't look to out of place. I grab a black pair of skinny jeans to wear with it and a pair of converses. The mirror shows me how tired I look and feel, my ash blonde hair is limp and lifeless. My pale skin looks sullen and almost has a bluish tint to it. I take my little army of makeup and quickly powder away the fatigue, I throw on a little bit of light blue eyeshadow and decide to take a risk and give my lips a little color. A small swipe of light pink, partenerd with a few dots of dark purple and my lips look almost beautiful. I look at my face and decide that I look almost beautiful, I brush out my hair and shake it a little bit to finish waking it up and surprisingly it decides to work with me too. It frames my delicate face perfectly, making it look even more pale but I don't care. I like the way I look today and after a spritz of perfume and a brush on my teeth I feel a new sense of confidence.
I go downstairs and find my mom putting a plate of eggs and bacon next to a purple mug of coffee. My favorite breakfast.
"Hey hun, did you sleep well?" she asked in the honey-sweet voice. She always has reminded me of the moms on ABC Family movies, the Betty Crocker Homemakers.
"I slept fine, thanks for breakfast." I don't waste anytime taking the fork and stabbing it into my food. The coffee tastes so good sliding down my throat, it warms me and makes me happy.
"Your welcome dear." she kisses me on the top of the head. "Well don't you look nice today? You warm enough?" she jokes with me, chuckling fully.
"Haha, and thank you for complimenting and then insulting me." I say and she laughs.
"Oh you know I love you. Now hurry up and eat so Spencer can take you to school."
"Aww mom! Why does Spence have to take me? Why can't you take me?!" I really didn't want my 19 going on 12 year old brother to take me, it never ended well.
"Oh Wynter, you'll be ok. He's a grown man, and plus he's heading up to town anyway. It really doesn't make sense for me to waste gas and drive you when Spencer is already going somewhere. Now quit whining and eat your breakfast." she walks out of the kitchen and leaves me to groan.
"Why? Why me?" I thought. My brother Spencer is a 3-week art school dropout that thinks that a successful life is living with his parents and playing video games. He's the biggest idiot I have ever met in my life and he never fails to prove me wrong, especially now as he stumbles down the stairs in Sugar Daddy pajama pants and a wife-beater.
I take one look at him and mentally cry, "You can't be serious?"
"What?" he says looking down at himself. "It's not like I'm getting out of the car anyway. Are you ready to go yet?" he walks over to the table and takes a swig of my coffee, grossing me out.
"Yes, just let me take my medicine, and by the way thanks for infecting my coffee cup." I get and go over to the cabinet where the medicine is.
"Your welcome, consider it a token of sibling affection." I hear Spencer say.
"Oh I could only be so lucky." I reply as I pop my pills, the pills that are supposed to fix me.
I grab my backpack and follow my brother out to his 60's Volkswagen Beetle, about the only good thing he ever did.
I feel my eyes are still heavy, but I ignore them. I feel beautiful, and I want to stay awake to enjoy this confidence.
The drive to school is long and agnonizing like usual. I look out my window and see the blackened goth kids standing on the corner smoking their cigarettes. Their eyeliner eyes stare back at me as of they're daring me to question their badassness. I wouldn't dare. I know they are stronger than me, in more ways than one. They're so able to be different and be who they want to be, and not care if anyone thinks them weak or cowards.
Because they know they're not.
Because they're not disgusting, they're just strong. There's a difference between the two and unfortunatley I'm the latter. I tear my eyes away from them as they continue to inhale the smoke. I wish I could be as careless with my health. Although I have indulged in my sparce marijuana joint, an old bad influence of mine used to slip me some back when my lupus was real bad. It would soothe the pain and I couldn't feel anything. It was so blissful to be able to float on that green, stinky cloud. I would light some incense and float away, I'd be gone to somewhere where my skin was flawless.
I was flawless and smooth and angelic.
I was perfect.
But then my mom caught me and completley went haywire. I was never allowed to talk to that bad influence again and since then I have even touched a small taste of pot.
F*** I miss it.
I turn back to the front of the car where I finally the music Spencer has been playing all this time. I think it's Nirvana because I can hear Kurt Cobain's ribbon gravely voice screaming and grunting. The guitar itself doesn't sound that bad, but I can't understand a damn thing he's saying.
"Spencer what the hell are you playing?"
"It's Endless Nameless, it's off the Nevermind album. It's a good song." he replies turning it up.
Now the screaming is more intense, it seems to go on forever...
It has an identity but then it doesn't. It has it's own name but that name is nothing, because it's lost in the endlessness of the song.
Spencer's right, this is a pretty good song.
Just then his Beetle pulls up to the school and I grab my backpack and climb out of the car. When I open the door the music explodes from the vehicle and it screams out into the open air. Some of my classmates begin to stare at me but I just shrug and shut the door. Spencer drives off and I swear I hear the music get louder before he leaves the parking lot. Only my brother.
I look around for my friends and I spot them hanging out by an old picnic table. They see me too and smile and one of them, Natalie, runs towards me with her twisted curls flying behind her. She hugs me gently and tells me all about this new song that she's working on. Her brown eyes sparkle as she explains the awesome new piano riff she came up with the previous night. I walk with her to our three other friends who are waiting for the bell to ring. Alexandra has this spaced out look in her eyes and I can see why. Her earphones are in her ears, hiding just slightly behind her shortish blonde hair. Her blue eyes are staring into the sky, probably thinking of a new story to write. Another one that she'll probably get halfway through and then get another idea, happens all too often. Elijah is dancing around and saying the normal things that no one understands, making his bro Hudson laugh hysterically. Hudson is once again dressed like he woke up on the beach, the thin white shirt gracefully drapes over his muscles. And they flex each time he laughs at one of Elijah's jokes. When they spy us, they greet us with the normal words.
"Oh god it's those weirdos." Hudson says with that sarcastic annoyance dancing in his eyes. He smiles quickly afterward to make sure we know it's a joke.
Elijah just stands there, waiting for a hug which I gladly go and give him. He wraps me tightly in his dark arms and I rest my face against his comforting chest. Although Elijah can be pretty damn annoying, I know he loves all of us. He's a very special friend to me.
I manage to capture Alexandra's attention and she smiles and then grabs my arm and hugs onto it with her little hands. Despite the fact that her shortness makes us look three years apart, she's actually a year older than me. But as I tell her all the time, who looks older?
We spend the last few minutes before the bell exchanging the normal conversation. I keep noticing Hudson's eyes landing on Natalie and then warming at her sight. It doesn't surprise me, Natalie has always been rather beautiful. Even though she won't admit it, she's quite an envious beauty. I always had wish I could look like her.
Without the butterflies and glass bones. I wanted the golden aura she always seems to carry around. I wanted the imperfect perfection that always seemed to attract people to her. But despite all that, she's one of my best friends, along with Alexandra.
Then the bell rings and we all head inside to our lockers. I feel a sense of elderness as I go towards my locker and see all the underclassmen who have finally gotten used to being in a whole new situation. It's been a month since we went back to school and I'm still not used to being a senior. I'm a senior. This is the last year for everything.
I reach my locker and dial in my combination on my purple lock and see the messy stack of books and bewildered papers looking back at me. I grab my College Algebra book and head off to Art with Natalie and Alex. We say bye to Hudson and Elijah and walk back outside to brave the cold. I turn my head so it won't be slapped by the wind and walk bravely with my arms linked between my friends' warm ones. We cling together until we reach the building that houses the Art and Band room. This is where Alexandra departs as she heads into the door with the flutes and drums and music.
"Bye band geek." Natalie and I bid her.
"Bye art geeks." she says as the door closes.
We keep walking a little and then into the Art room. Mrs. Forman sits behind her desk with her reddish hair glaring under the falsified light. Natalie and I find our conjoined seats and sit just before the announcements come on demanding us to stand again for the pledge. Afterwards we and the rest of the art students sit down and begin to work on our projects. Natalie and I work in silence for awhile until Natalie gasps.
"What is it?" I ask her.
"Shooooot, I spilled some red paint on the wrong part of the painting." she groans in reply and begins to use some artistic tricks to remove the paint. I watch her as she gracefully and almost irresponsibly strokes the paper and effortlessly creates a beautiful picture. Of course she can still find an error, something she should've done differently. After she finishes, she looks at it and works it over with her gaze.
"You know you kicked ass on it." I say.
She chuckles in undecided agreement. "Yea..." her eyes grow and twirl.
Before I can convince her more, the door is knocked on. Mrs. Forman goes to answer it and behind it stands a student ambassador and a boy whom I've never seen before. He's tall and extremely tan with dark ebon hair and piercing green eyes to match. He's dressed in a white shirt with a black vest laid on top of dark jeans. My heart immediatley gets excited, I hope he's in here for this period. Natalie spots me staring and touches my hand. I look at her and she winks, I chuckle her softly and wink back.
Mrs. Forman whispers with the ambassador for a few moments and then says "Thank you" and gestures for the boy to come inside the class. The ambassador leaves and the boy looks almost scared to see the first person he knows here leaving him in a room of strangers. Mrs. Forman walks him to the front of the room and he bashfully meets our piercing gaze. Then our teacher speaks, breaking the thick ice.
"Class this is our foreign exchange student. His name is Zane Harvick and he comes to us all the way from where dear?" Mrs. Forman looks at him, lost for words.
"Umm, Australia." he mumbles in response.
"Well, g'day mate!" hollers Ethan from across the room. Lillian next to him chuckles along with him and Zane's cheeks burn red. I feel sorry for him as his eyes hide behind his hair as they drop their gaze to the floor.
"Now Ethan, don't tease him." Mrs. Forman warns.
Ethan doesn't learn any lesson but decides to spare Zane some mercy and turns back to his project.
"Well, Zane you can take any empty seat you like. Welcome to America son." Mrs. Forman hugs his shoulders with her warm hands and he nods smiling. Mrs. Forman returns to her desk and Zane looks bewildered around the room. Natalie looks beside us where there's another set of pair desks.
"You can sit in one of these if you like." she offers pointing to the pair.
He looks at her gratefully and nods in accordance. He walks over to them and chooses the one next to me. I turn my head away so he won't see my crimson cheeks. When they've calmed down, I look back and see him pulling out an old art journal. He opens it and I see some very close to perfection sketches. I'm amazed by his talent, and I'm drawn into the swirling watery colors and images. Soon I feel him looking at me and I catch his gaze. I'm immediatley ashamed.
"Oh, umm sorry." I apologize.
"No, it's alright." he says, I can taste his delicious accent. I'm butter.
"It's just that...you're really good." I say starstruck.
He smiles, the half circle lines curving perfectly around the corner of his lips. His starch white teeth shine at me and I melt. "Thanks, I try my best."
I hear Natalie softly chuckle to herself. "I wish I was half that good." she says.
"Well, don't base your talent solely off mine. Everyone has their own kind of talent." he says.
"Still..." I say looking back at the journal.
Zane chuckles, "Well maybe sometime I could give you some pointers."
I laugh nervously, "I would love that."
And out of the corner of my eye, I see Natalie softly chuckle and smile.
"Well anyway, what's your name?" Zane asks me as we turn back to our own projects.
"I'm Wynter." I reply.
He grins at me, "I like that name."
I turn with a surprised look on my face, "You do?"
"Yea, it's unique...just like your beauty." He winks slightly at me and I silently stop breathing.
"Th-thank you." I choke on my own butterflies.
"So what are you working on?" Zane asks, totally changing the subject.
I sit back and show him my unfinished art piece. It's an ice skeleton girl with white hair and a raspy butterfly heart. There's burned ashes falling behind her. "It's just a sketch so far, I still have to paint it."
Zane takes his time looking it over, he makes "Oh" and "Ah" sounds and then nods as if he's understanding it. "It's really good." he finally says. "I don't think you should paint it." he adds.
"What do you mean?"
"Well it's an ash emotion picture, it should be left in pencil colors."
I have absolutley no idea what the hell he just said. "Ash emotion?"
"Yea, kind of burned out and hollow. It's fragile but yet it comes from a strong flame."
"And I shouldn't paint it?" I ask.
"No, it's perfect."
I smile at him and he smiles back.
"You're perfect." he adds.
I can't contain a giggle as I hide my blushing cheeks. I can't believe that he has me giggling like a schoolgirl, but I like it.
I stare at the board that has algebra problems covering it, strongly contrasting with my empty notebook paper. I just can't stop thinking about Zane. He's so awesome. I think about his eyes, his smile, his delicious accent that I know would make my name 5 stars if it ever uttered it. I wish I could taste that accent, as it came out of our lips.
The lips that would be folded with mine.
Because they're perfect.
Because he's perfect.
Because he thinks I'm perfect.
He actually thinks I'm.....perfect?!
Well...at least the outside layer.
But he did say that I was perfect...or was he just saying that?
"Hey!" Alexandra whispers as she pokes me in the back. "Why are you so distracted today?"
I turn my head slightly to where I can see her out of the corner of my eye, "Nothing, it's just...I'm tired."
"Mhmm." She doesn't believe me, I don't blame her. I'm a horrible liar. "Natalie told me about that Zane guy, I'm sure daydreaming about him has you real tired." she chuckles teasingly.
"I'm not daydreaming, I'm just....thinking strongly about him."
"Yyyyea. Very strongly..."
I reach around behind me and pinch her. "Oww!" she exclaims.
"There, think strongly about that." I say.
"Well anyway, maybe we should invite him to sit with us at lunch." she suggests.
"Yea, when I gather up the balls to do that I'll get back to you." I pull my sweater closer to my skin, it's really cold in here.
"Do you want me or Natalie to do it for you?"
"No, you could come with me though."
"Ok, I'll do that for you besh frand."
I smile in response, I love my friends.
The bell rings and I rush to gather my stuff and head out with Alexandra. I can't wait for lunchtime.
The fifth period bell rings, it's time for lunch. Alexandra and Natalie give me that excited look, they know what's going to happen.
We make our way to the cafeteria and quickly find ourselves in the beginnings of a line, we're quickly in and then quickly out and then my eyes are scanning the room for Zane.
Blonde heads, brown hair, mohawks, then a black head calls out to me in the crowd. I look at the face but then meet the disappointment, the brown eyes look back at me puzzled.
My smile falls, I can't seem to find him. The one Australian hunk in the mass of American douchebags, and of course he's vanished. Natalie nudges my arm and I show her my saddened expression.
"Why do you look so sad?" she asks.
"I don't see Zane."
"Well, we'll find him. It's one room, he can't hide that well." she reassures me. Her and Alexandra walk with me to our table and then I spot him.
He's standing up against the wall, holding his tray in his hand, he's looking at the ground wondering what he's supposed to do. Natalie looks at me and smiles, gesturing me to approach him. It's my turn to freeze in confusion, I'm struck with uneasiness. I grip onto Alexandra's arm, holding it prisoner, she glances up at me and then quietly agrees.
We walk up to Zane and he greets us with a smile. "Hello Wynter, and umm...sorry I don't believe I've met you." he says looking at Alexandra.
"Oh, I'm Alexandra, but you can call me Alex." she replies.
"Well it's nice to meet you." he says.
"You too." Alex smiles back.
For a few moments we stand there awkwardly as I've forgotten the reason I approached him in the first place. Alex reminds me by nudging me in the arm, right on one of my rashy butterflies. I wince under the pain but still maintain a smile as my voice shakes before it gains strength. "Umm...Zane...I was...wondering..."
He looks at me intrigued.
"If maybe you would like to...sit with us for lunch."
His smile grows even bigger as he nods his head, "I would love you too."
I sigh a smile, "Ok. Come with us." He obeys and follows us to our table where Natalie is already eating and smiling teasingly.
When we sit down, Hudson and Elijah look taken aback. "Umm, Zane these are my other two friends, Hudson and Elijah. Guys, this is the foreign exchange student Zane Harvick."
"Uh how are you doing guys?" Zane greets them holding out his hand to shake. Hudson stands and grips his hand shaking, Elijah does the same.
"I'm fine man, so where exactly are you from?" Hudson asks.
"I'm from Australia."
"Oh shit, like where they had Finding Nemo?!" Elijah barks up. We erupt in laughter.
"Yea, that actually was around Sydney." Zane chuckles.
"Do you live near Sydney?" Natalie asks.
"Kind of, not really. I live in Wollongong, it's several miles south of Sydney but it's still along the coast. It's really nice and peaceful, my family has lived near their entire lives." he replies.
"So Zane, what do you like to do for fun?"Hudson asks. He's got that inquiring look in his eyes, he's drilling this guy.
"You know, the usual. I like to swim and surf, or at least try to surf. I've seen shelias do it 10 times better than I can. I just usually embarrass myself." He chuckles shamefully. "And I like to paint."
I smile at him and Natalie leans over. "You got a fave kind of paint?" she asks.
"Watercolor." he smiles at the table. "That's when art truly paints itself." he nods his head agreeing with himself.
Hudson scoffs with a smile on his face, he nudges Elijah and starts to mock Zane. They both laugh together but Zane doesn't notice, he's still in his faze. It's not until I poke him on the arm does he realize that he's in a cafeteria. He grins at me uneasy and I grip his shoulder.
He warms under my touch and I find it encouraging.
I find it making the future more encouraging.