Chapter 1- the beginningI was in that half-awake, half-asleep stage where you can hear the phone ringing and something cooking in the kitchen. Where you can smell that heavenly bacon smell and suddenly you want to get up just to have some fat-fried wonderful. When my little brother jumped.
“You gotta get up!”
“No,” I grumped.
I peeked out and saw Logan looking confused. He was too young to know how to get me awake. He put his arm around me and gave me a kiss on my cheek.
“Sammy? Sammy, please?” he looked so adorable that I gave him a small squeeze and sat up.
“YAY! Mommy! Mommy! I got her up! She’s awake! Mommy!” I watched his little five-year-old butt run into the kitchen.
As I stood up I felt searing pain in my left leg. What the heck happened last night?
“Ok,” I thought as I limped to the living room, “I remember falling on the bed really late but before that. Before bed. Before home. Before? Before what?”
“Samantha!” my mom said, “what time did you get home last night? I was so worried! We were so worried.”
I thought back. It wasn’t ten. Or eleven. Or midnight- my curfew.
“12:30 or so?”
“No. We were still up.” I sat down across from my father who was reading the paper.
“WIFE KILLS FAMILY FOR FATHER HAVING AN AFFAIR!” the headline roared.
“Figures my dad’d be into it,” I mumbled.
“Samantha?” My mom turned my face towards her again. Ugh. I always felt so bad for them. But I’m a seventeen year old in high school. I’m a party animal, a daredevil and I’m not planning on changing. They wanted me to go to Harvard and be a lawyer but I wasn’t up for it.
“Sam? Were you out with Drake?”
It all came rushing back. The beer, the deer, the motorcycle, the tree, the
Jacket. I shook it off. I’d think about crying later. Not now, not in front of Logan. Not in front of my mom. My dad.
“Oh. Yeah. A couple of us went out for a bite to eat and some drinks and it got late. Maybe around one o’clock.”
“Ok. Are you all right? You weren’t drinking were you?”
“No. ‘course not. I’m seventeen!” I lied.
Truth is, when I was thirteen I passed for a college student. I could’ve drunken back then and no one would have batted an eyelash. Now, even underage I do everything.
“All right. But one AM is still an hour after curfew. I want you home by midnight,” she started to walk away but turned back, “drinks? With seventeen year olds?”
“Virgin drinks,” I lied again.
“Oh, good,” she sighed heavily and went back in to get breakfast.
“So dad, how’d that lady kill her kids?”
He stared at me. Hard. Cold. Stone cold.
“Well, her daughter knew about it so she killed the girl first. Then went on a rampage.”
I sat quietly. A first for me in my own house.
“Sammy!” Logan said breaking the silence, “I start school today!”
“Oh. Cool. You’ll love it.”
“I know! I already have my pencils and my pens and my folders and my notebooks and…” I tuned him out and thought about the mystery night.
I remembered sneaking out. Easy. I got a call while finishing homework from my boyfriend Drake asking me if I wanted to go to “Blumme” the coolest bar in the city. I obviously accepted and left the house while mom was nervously cooking and dad was out at “work”. I hopped on the motorcycle and we zoomed off into the hippest part.
The bouncer looked skeptical but when we showed him our fakies and an Andrew Jackson he let us through. We were seated at the bar to my dismay and he immediately ordered three beers.
“Well, you’ll barely drink one!”
They came as soon as my coat went off and I sipped politely and watched a Spanish soap opera about random lives. After about three affairs and twenty minutes I turned back to Drake.
There were three empty beer mugs and a very drunk boyfriend hitting on an Anorexic- thin polish blonde.
I stomped over to him.
“Hey,” he turned and started to twirl my light brown hair.
“It’s soft,” he mumbled.
I pulled him back to our seats.
“Drake, you’re drunk.”
“So?” he countered.
“So you can’t drive. I’m calling a cab,” I pulled out my Droid and started to call the closest cab company.
“Babe, I got it,” he took my phone out of my hands and put it in my pocket. I sighed and stared at him. I was pretty tipsy too and it wasn’t our first driving attempt.
We stumbled out of the bar and slid onto his motorcycle. We started driving when. When what? Think Sam. Think.
We started driving and he wanted to go onto the highway. The shortcut. I argued that that was stupid because cops catch drunkers much more often on the highway instead of the smaller roads. He told me to shut up or walk it. I held onto his stomach tighter. Like I wouldn’t let go. Ever.
I stopped thinking. Sammy no. Not here.
As I went back into my room and threw on clothes, I felt my head reeling. I felt it spinning. I felt my brain twirling all over the place. I felt the burning sensation of the bacon. Then I saw it. My breakfast.
My mother ran into my room and pulled me into the bathroom.
“Samantha! Are you all right?” she worries a lot, I mean today she had a reason to be but still.
“Yeah. Just too much sugar last night. I’m… I’m good.”
I sped out of there and grabbed my bag.
“Sam!” she yelled, but I was out of the door.
As I drove to school, I couldn’t bear to see the faces. Of my friends. My teachers. They knew. They knew what happened. Didn’t they? I mean the cops should’ve found him by now and sent a report, right?
I jumped out of my car and scurried into school. As my feet touched the stairs of the fifth floor I was high-fived and patted on the back. I was hugged and air kissed. People say that being popular is worse than being dead. Obviously they’d never been on the bottom of the social food chain.
Ever hear the saying “never be a guppy in a piranha infested tank”? Probably not, because I just made it up. But at high school those guppies are the suicidal ones that you read about in the newspaper. You’d much rather be a piranha or a shark better yet.
Anyway, from their reaction they didn’t know. I planned to keep it that way. I wanted everything to be the same. Yeah. Right. I couldn’t concentrate. I just listened to the soundtrack of my life. I failed a test. Then I skipped lunch and sat on a swing. Me. Me. Me? I’m not the nobody’d miss you type. I’m the homecoming queen glory. So when I didn’t show, people looked. My friend Mikki found me.
“What’s going on, Sam? You never miss lunch.”
“I’m just… not… hungry. Yeah.”
She sat on the swing next to me and held my hand. I had the inclination to pull away and be a loner but it felt nice. Motherly.
“Did you and Drake fight?”
“Come on. Come inside. Eat,” she pushed.
“Fine,” she gave up, “enjoy your life.”
As I watched her walk away it reminded me of a moment in time. A life changing moment.
One night after a concert with Drake, he was taking me home and I stopped to thank him.
“It was amazing tonight. How’d you score those seats?” we were dead center in the second row and had little mini gift bags of “Green Day” souvenirs.
“A buddy of mine met one of ‘em in rehab and gets tickets whenever.”
“Well, thank you ‘buddy.’”
“Hell no. Not me. I’ve never been in rehab.”
I gave him a look to tell him that I “totally” believed him.
I stood up straight and gave him a kiss.
“Stop it!” I heard. A high-pitched squeal from some girl. One of those I’m-not-in-trouble-I’m-just-playing-innocent-for-my-boyfriend squeals.
I pull away and turned to see someone very like my dad making out with some beach blonde bimbo. He had his hands up the back of her shirt and was playing with her hair.
“Dave, I have to go.”
Dave. My dad’s name.
He pulled away and watched her start to walk away.
“I love you,” he whispered. I hadn’t heard him say that to anyone in a long time.
She made a heart with her hands like a 12 year old and kept walking. I ran after her and slapped her. I told her exactly what I thought of this relationship and about his family and history. I would’ve continued but she said something heart-stopping.
“We’re in love. That isn’t going away.”
I heard Drake come up behind me and he pulled me back. I kicked that woman and spit in her face. I watched her scurry away and turned around to cry in his arms.
I heard more footsteps- my father’s- but I didn’t care. I wanted him to fall in a lake. He started to mumble an apology but Drake told him that this wasn’t the time. Then he told him to drown in a lagoon- it’s like he could read my mind.
“Sam I’m so sorry.” Drake murmured in my ear.
I held him tighter and cried harder. Not because I was a jerk to the woman but because my father was a cheater. I remembered in fourth grade how I cheated on a spelling test and he screamed at me. He screamed how cheating and being successful wasn't winning. You lose. You fail. And you don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve anything. I wondered if at that point he was still a cheater.
At that time I couldn’t go home without telling anyone or killing him. So I slept at Drake’s so I wouldn’t have to deal. I remember my mom yelling at me for staying at my boyfriend’s but I just tuned her out. I didn’t care. It wasn’t my first time away from home.
Anyway, back to my loserness. I called out to Michaela. She waved her hand at me to signal “I’m done with you.”
I pulled out my phone to text Drake and it hit me all over again. I sat on that swing for another twenty minutes sobbing.
When I finally stopped my fifth period class had started so I just went home. I didn’t feel like it. I wasn’t into it today.
As I opened the door I knew I would be alone. The lights were off and the usual smell of my mother’s perfume was faint. I scurried into my room and buried my nose in my journal.
“Use your notebook to express yourself. Sometimes a diary is more useful than a best friend,” My teacher used to say.
I jotted down every piece of information from the night before and in the middle fell asleep.
I was on the bike. On his motorcycle.
“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world! She tool the midnight train going anywhere.” Drake sang out along with the radio.
“Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit. He took the midnight train going anywhere.” I continued.
He turned back at me and smiled. At that point I shivered. We pulled over and he handed me his leather bomber jacket.
“No, it’s yours. Your dad’s.” His dad died three years ago from cancer but gave him the jacket. He threw it over my shoulders to signify that I would wear it. We kept going.
“Deer!” I screamed out after a moment. He had turned around by now.
“Yes, honey?” he smirked.
“No! DEER!” I pointed at a baby white tailed deer that had run out into the road. He swerved and. And. AND!
“Come on, Sam!” I pushed.
It went black. I closed my eyes as we hit a tall pine tree. The moment the impact hit me I snapped into adrenaline mode. I remembered turning off the motorcycle and kneeling down to Drake. I remember him not responding. I remember holding on tightly to his jacket and fled into the night. I remember waking up at home. The rest a mystery.
I woke up from my mid-day nap.
“It happened,” I whispered, “it happened.”
I drifted off again saw Drake’s face above me.
“Forget me,” he said, “you need to forget.”
“Forget me,” he said, “remembering me won’t help you. Forget me.”
I picked up the jacket next to me and peeked inside a pocket. A package of cigarettes, lighter, notebook and four or five flowers. I pulled them out. His favorites. His father’s favorites. The flowers his father gave to him over and over again. Drake’s good luck charm.