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Alice. That's all I'm permitted to say.
“Hey Cass,” Alice said, sliding in next to me. “Hi,” I said, a little nervously. She never called me Cass unless she wanted something. And it was never money.
No. It was always something more life risking.
It hadn’t been 1 minute before she said those dreaded words.
“Are you free this weekend?”
“Uh,” I pretended to think when my weekends were always empty. And she knew that.
“I think so.” I said, pretending to seem a little uncertain, hoping maybe then she would decide to bring someone else along in her new adventure.
“Okay, great! Come over to my place, Saturday around 8 o’clock. There’s someone I want you to meet.”
I nodded and then took a bite of my lunch. Turkey and mustard sandwich. My comfort food.
I know this probably makes me seem like a horrible friend but let me explain. Alice’s adventure could be a trip to Ben and Jerry’s and still, someone would get seriously injured. And that poor sod was always me.
The next morning when I awoke, my clock read 6:05 AM. I climbed out of my warm, snug bed and got out my diary.
I am still alive miraculously.
Today I have to go to Alice’s. She says there’s someone she wants me to meet. Probably an ex-con that she wants me to hide in my room and throw sausages to everyday. So if I don’t live to write another entry and someone finds this and hopes for a clue to how I died: I WAS INNOCENT! IT WAS ALL ALICE!
And if she says I stole her watch, she’s lying. She lost it on the bus.
Anyway, I better get prepared. I’m bringing my pepper-spray too in case things get out of hand. (Actually my pepper-spray is really just water. It has the same affect on Alice that it has on cats.)
So long world.
I closed the book shut and slid it under my mattress.
My clock glowed 6:10 AM so I got dressed and packed up my stuff.
I left the house at 7:45 and biked over to Alice’s. She lived about a mile away from me. I paced myself perfectly and was right on time when I arrived at her place. Except the house looked empty.
I knocked on the door a few times. No answer. Panicked, I repeatedly attempted to click the broken doorbell. Nothing. I ran around back, and looked for a pebble to throw at her bedroom window. I found a rock about the same size as my fist.
I was about to throw it when someone yanked my arm backwards.
“STOP!” I cried, as I dropped the rock. I was sure my arm was going to fall out of its socket any second now. When they didn’t, I repeated everything I had ever heard Derek Cunnings say, and my arm was free.
“Whoa, whoa!” I heard Madeline say. Worried I had offended Alice’s much older sister, I turned to apologize. Then I saw that she had a big grin on her face.
“I didn’t know you had that in your vocabulary, Miss Potty Mouth.” I smiled nervously. “Yeah, uh, I didn’t either.” She laughed. I have always liked her laugh.
It’s booming yet at the same time pleasant and polite.
Then her face went back its usual bored expression. “But seriously, what were you planning to do with this?” She picked up my rock. “Going to wake Alice,” I said, quietly. “I don’t think she’d be too happy.” She put it back in my hand. Then I understood what she meant. It was a chunk of cement. My face reddened. “’S Kay,” she patted my head and then led me inside.
“So Alice invited you over, huh? And you accepted, huh. Not many people are courageous enough to. Scared of me, I suppose.”
I nodded without thinking and she looked a bit hurt. “You think I’m scary?”
I didn’t know how to answer that. “Yes, well no and yes-I DON’T KNOW!”
The look was gone in an instant. “Calm down, Cowboy. It was just a question. I wasn’t expecting an answer anyhow. “ Then she poked her head up the staircase and shouted, “ALICE! GET YOUR TINY BUTT OUT HERE!” I guess she was tired of talking to me.
A groggy Alice walked down the stairs. Her eyes were still close. “My butt’s bigger than yours.” She said, in a matter-of-fact way. When this didn’t start a fight, she asked, “is Cassidiot here yet?” I was about to yell something indigenous but Madeline signaled for me to say quiet. “No. I don’t think she’s coming. The neighbor’s are having big a party- she’s there.”
Silence. Then, “I really slept that late?”
Then Alice started to walk back up the stairs and I shouted “Wait!”
“Cassidy? You’ve been here this whole time?”
I swallowed nervously. “Uh yes.”
“Let’s go.” She grabbed her bag and headed out the door, I followed. A few yards behind. When the door was closed, I could hear melodious laughter.
Alice was grumbling something about Madeline needing to “get a life and some friends” and I kind of had to agree.
I loved Madeline and I still do to this day its just that Madeline is much much older than she looks or behaves.
In fact, she has the maturity of a 7 year old. She likes potty humor more than anyone else I know and is constantly making references to it.
A few minutes later, when Alice was back in good humor, I asked, “So where are we going?” It seemed to me that Alice was mindlessly wandering around, maybe walking off her anger. But it also seemed to me that we were lost.
“Well its high time I tell you: my great grandfather is dying.” She didn’t even look away from me when she said it.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” It sounded lame, even to me. “Yeah, yeah. Well I’m not. I’ve been waiting for the old geezer to die for ages. Now I have to visit him every month. Mum says he only likes to see me, but she just doesn’t want to visit him either.” She kicked a pebble hard, sending it flying into a bush and I noticed the bitterness in her usual whining voice. For the record, not once did I complain or even think about complaining that I had to come along too. This shows just how self-less I really am. (…Just wanted to point that out.)
We walked a few more minutes in silence before Alice pointed to an old Victorian-styled house. “That’s the place,” she said, and I followed her in.
“Shouldn’t we have knocked?” I asked and she ignored me. The interior of the house was just as old-fashioned as the outside and I instantly liked it. This grandfather of Alice’s had good taste.
When I looked back, Alice had begun to run up the stairs, making loud squeaky noises with each step.
“Wait for me!” I yelled, and she laughed, running faster. She was about six steps ahead of me and when I reached the top of the stairs, Alice was no where to be seen.
The upper floor of the house was covered with doors. She could of gone into any of them. “Don’t panic,” I told myself, “let’s just think logically. She probably didn’t close a door all the way in her hurry.” I scanned the doors. One of the doors on the far right was opened a crack. “Alice?” I received a stifled laugh as my answer. I took another step in. It was too dark to see a thing. “Alice!” Another laugh, but it didn’t sound like Alice’s. And now that I thought about it, the one before that hadn’t really either...
I began to whistle and walked out of the room, then full-out running once I reached the stairs, face planting into the last step. I looked up to the laughing face of Alice. Then I noticed someone else next to her. They were all wrinkly and smelled of sawdust. “Cassidy,” Alice said between laughs, “meet my granddaddy Alex.”
“HI,” I scrambled off the ground with as much dignity as I could muster. “My name is Cassidy Owens.” I stuck out a now dust covered hand and he looked at me disapprovingly at first before shaking my hand. “Couldn’t find the bathroom, huh.” He said, his voice serious for a few seconds before I saw he was grinning from ear to ear and we both began laughing. His laugh was exactly like Madeline’s except for the fact that his voice was quite a bit deeper. I couldn’t understand why Alice hated him so much, and then I saw it: the jealousy in her eyes.
The next day I awoke to my clock glowing 5:45 AM and saw my diary lying open on the floor. I lunged to grab it, quickly flipping through its pages, looking for signs of someone going through it. “It’s nothing,” I told myself, through gritted teeth. “All my secrets are safe. “ But I had this empty feeling at the pit of my stomach and I decided to try and focus on something else in stead. “Okay, how about some tea to settle the nerves? That sounds like a good idea.”
I didn’t realize until I had poured myself a cup of Jasmine that I had been talking to myself. And answering myself. This is really bad. I looked at the kitchen clock.
It was 6:03 in the morning. I still had a lot of time before school even opened.
I had no homework to do because I had finished last night promptly at 5:30, then ate dinner, read for an hour, and went to bed.
This was the reason I rarely wrote in my diary. If I wrote every day it would go something like this-
I finished my AP English essay in less than an hour!
Now I have to go to bed because it’s almost seven o’clock, oh my!
Not very exciting right? So I only write whenever something different or unlike my usual day-to-day life happens. And yes, going to the dentist was the highlight of last week’s entries. Don’t judge, it only brings bad Karma.
The bus pulled to the stop, two minutes late, as usual. I waited for everyone else to get on first, leaving me with the front seat. I didn’t mind. Alice wouldn’t get on for a few minutes and Alice always got us nice seats. People always got up for her and gave us their seats, of course Alice was probably the most despised person in all of Crestwood Academy (-eeehhhh gonna change that name later) she had earned everyone’s respect in the first week of school. Of course me being me, I was in the bathroom when it happened and whenever I ask Alice what happened she’d just say, “I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
One day finally, I overheard two girls gossiping in the bathroom. “Min, did you hear about that Alice girl?” They were each in a stall and I was in the middle stall, between them. I flushed slowly, and closed the stall, giving myself as much time as possible to hear what they had to say. By the time I had finished washing my hands, I had given up on any pretense of not listening. If they knew, they didn’t seem to mind. “Yeah! First week of school, Billy Cunnings does his usual routine, and then he walks up to that girl, whispers something vulgar into her ear and then starts laughing. –“
Someone flushed. I have to know what happened! I dove into another stall just as the first girl that spoke began to wash her hands.
“He probably said something disgusting and mean!” The girl named Min said.
“Hah yeah! It was so great to see her punch him straight in the jaw.” They were both laughing now. “And then he was too embarrassed to go to the nurses’, so he just left school.” I didn’t need to know anymore. I left my hiding spot and walked out the door, realizing that Min probably thought I had just went to the bathroom without washing my hands…
But it was worth it. I was pretty impressed with Alice, punching a kid, and managing to not even get a detention. It was classic Alice. In return for ridding the school of Billy D., all the students always handed over the best bus seats to Alice and the only other person who would sit with her-me.’
“Cassy,” Alice whined. “Cassy” was my new nickname and she always stretched out so the y sounded like Cassyyy which was even more whiny sounding and then you add in her high-pitch voice and there you have it folks: A headache. “What!” I must have sounded exasperated for Alice quit her whining right away. “My parents are going away for the weekend and I was wondering if you could maybe-“
I cut her off. “Fine. But no messing around, my parents already think you’re a bad influence, you know.” Alice laughed. “Hah, no silly! You thought you could predict what I was going to say, didn’t you? That has to go. No one can predict me. “ She let the last two words sink into my brain. They seemed a little threatening,
“I actually have to stay with Alex over the weekend, but he likes you more than me and it’ll be so much more fun if you come along too.” Her eyes glowed, and her face seemed so innocent right then that I agreed to. This was how I was always getting into trouble, and how Alice was always getting out of it. The bell rang, and we ran our separate ways. Next weekend is going to be interesting. I thought. “Tomorrow night!” She yelled over her shoulder, and my day just went downhill after that. “When my therapist hears about this…” I muttered underneath my breath. Thank god, I don’t have one jj
~~~~~ on one condition. “What?” She asked, with no hint of her usual self in her voice. It was more concerning, as if she actually cared. “You need to get his name for me.” I felt proud of myself with coming up with this idea.
“Him?” Alice pointed to a lanky boy with almost spiky hair. It wasn’t purposely spiky, I knew. He didn’t care about the way he looked. He was different from his friends whom were all wearing skinny jeans with hats turned backwards. The “skater” look was really in this semester. He was sitting by himself, sort of. He was sitting at a table filled with six or more “skaters” but he wasn’t pushing or shoving like the rest of them. No, he was just sitting among them, listening to another boy, thoughtfully. He looked like he was actually listening, like he was genuinely interested in what they had to say. So different from most boys.
“Yeah him.” I hadn’t taken my eyes off him.
To my surprise and utter embarrassment, Alice yelled to him. “IAN! GET OVER HERE!” The boys at his table all turned and whistled at Ian. “Shut up guys, she’s my cousin,” he said as he got up and walked over in our direction. “All I wanted was his name,"
Ian’s face was a little red as he greeted Alice. “Hi,” he said, quietly, and then when Alice introduced me to him, he nodded in my direction, which I took as a hello. “
“Ian, guess who’s staying with me at Alex’s?” She never waited for an answer.
“”Cass!” To my despair, the color drained from his face, and I thought he was going to faint. “Aww,” Alice cooed, “Ian doesn’t wanna spend the weekend with a girl!”
That’s when I realized what was going on: I was staying with Alice at her great grandfather’s along with the boy of my dreams.
“Oh c’mon! The Silent Treatment? How was I supposed to know you liked Ian anyway?”
For someone who rarely cared what others had to say, Alice sure didn’t like the silent treatment. Honestly, I hadn’t actually thought she’d even realize it. But she did. It took her almost an hour but it still made me feel a little better. This proves that no one is immune to the silent treatment, not even someone like Alice.
I think that it’s because the person on the receiving end feels as if the tormentor knows something that they don’t. Not that I would know. I’ve never been shunned in my entire life, so all my knowledge on this topic comes from soap operas. A trusty source if you ask me. But back to the present.
“Oh fine, I won’t talk either and then it will be a silent walk to your house. How would you like that now? Oh don’t give me that look! I should be the one giving you that look! “
I think you get the picture. “Just stop,” I say. My head was really starting to hurt. And as much as I loved to see Alice care about me, the pain was getting unbearable.
I flipped open my phone and texted my mom to come pick me up. The constant stream of words still hadn’t stopped flowing from Alice’s mouth and she looked to me as if she was about to start frothing at the mouth. “Ali,” a piece of spit hit me on the back of my neck, “I’m sorry.” She showed her forgiveness by wiping it off after my mom drove us to my house.