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The Kids Don't Stand A Chance
Author's note: This piece is an ongoing work, with events preset by somebody else. To view the original "roleplay", click here:
1) Introduce yourself. Include information like your name, age, grade, gender, or anything else that’s important to know about you. (i.e.: personality, physical appearance, hobbies, style, etc)
+Aiight. Well, first off, my name is Florence Abigail Lancaster. I'm 15 (my birthday is in September). I love music and art. I have red wavy hair and freckles. I have at least 15 flannel shirts in my wardrobe, along with two or three pairs of military boots. I love all things hipster (that means lanyards, Arizona tea, and photography where the subjects aren't posing). One more thing you should know about me: I can't wait to get out of Point Wade. My biggest dream is to hop in my older brother's cream and burgundy station-wagon and take off. California sounds nice.
2) How do you think other people see you or how do you want them to see you?
+People see me as.... actually I don't know. I don't really pay attention to how people might think. I spend most of my time with my best friend Katie Wilson who lives in the house next door to mine. I guess that people may see me as a bit quiet... or as the daughter of Mary and Joshua Lancaster, the people who run the little curio shop by the coast, Coastal Curios. We're kind of famous in town for that. Not sure whether that's good or not.
3) Tell us about your background. (i.e.: family, upbringing, etc)
+My mom is Mary Cartwright Lancaster. She was from a family of seven, but all of her siblings live in Texas where she was born. We don't have much contact with them. My dad is Joshua Lancaster, Coastal Curios manager and fishing fanatic. He always brings me apple cider when mom and I fight. Which is kind of often now. And then there's my brother. I don't like talking about him. He... was killed in an earthquake when he was studying abroad in Chile. That was seven months and three days ago. He left his car here, and it's still parked in our driveway. Just like his room is still full of his things, with his hiking boots tossed on the floor by his closet as if he'd been in there moments ago. I think Mom has a hard time letting go.
4) Anything else you’d like to include. (This is a good place to mention likes, dislikes, etc.)
+Likes: sun, flannel, plaid, combat boots, Raybans, toast, music, photography and painting, the colors brown, green, and red.
+Dislikes: Point Wade, high school, Pointwade Highschool, anything in neon colors (that does not include neon signs), things that don't turn out how you expect.
Name: Florence "Renny" Abigail Lancaster
Interested in: Boys (at Point Wade High, there's no such thing as a decent man)
Status: single. she prefers spending time with Katie
Looks: "They Call Me Redhead" girl (google her)
Sunday, November 7th, 8:12 PM (it is frickin' cold outside) So... I haven't really kept a diary before... I don't exactly know how to use it, so I'm just doing the things they show in movies. I wrote the date, and the time. And I added my thoughts on the weather. Ok. Now what? I guess I'll talk about my personal life. Starting with Halloween. HALLOWEEN; So, Katie and I were being the little slackers we are and decided not to go trick-or-treating this year. We heard there was this party going on, in the "haunted" forest over on the other side of the highway, but we didn't really want to go. Besides, what's so fun about getting scared out of your wits by a squirrel in front of a bunch of people who already think you're abnormal to the point of insanity? Anyways, we decided to kick it old school. So we rented some ancient horror movies (Creature of the Black Lagoon anyone?) and bought a big bag of mixed candy to eat. Ah, the fun. So the next day it was Monday, and we had school. I swear, these teachers just look for ways to make us miserable. After a fun weekend, we just had to have a Science midterm AND a French pop-quiz. This guy, his name is Hunter Fitch, his sister is supposed to be this snobby badass rich girl (she got kicked out of a boarding school in France for having too much fun XD). Anyways, he sits behind me in History. I was trying to concentrate on this essay we're supposed to write, which I was getting a head start on, and then he just had to go and flick me in the back of the head with a paper football. Repeatedly. Fun, huh? *sighs* Immature little b*****d. There just aren't any decent guys in this town. ON TO FRIDAY! There was this little fundraiser that the local newspaper was holding, with a barbecue and a raffle and the whole shebang. There was a guy there, standing by a bounce house that me and Katie passed on our way to the place for dropping off unwanted Halloween candy for the hospitalized kids. He was definitely not from here. He had these blonde streaks in his hair that actually looked natural. We have clouds almost 24/7, so he was definitely from somewhere else. So we went up to him. And bing bang Katie's got a new beau. His name is Isaac. He's from Florida. And the minute we approached him he asked her for her number. Only in Point Wade. Well, as much fun as this has been, I've gotta be going. I need to go for a little drive with my dad to build up my hours. I neeeeed to get my license. As soon as I turn 16. Which won't be until next year, but still. Time flies. And I need to get out of this place.
I always feels really good to be driving, even if it is just for getting up my hours, and even if my dad is always sitting next to me, looking anxious. He's probably just worried that I'll scratch his precious little Camry. My parents won't let me drive my brother's old car yet. I think they want to pretend he's still living here, up in his room with his best friend Michael or his girlfriend Samantha, deciding to go out for long drives while we're all away, and then coming back before we get home so it looks like he never left.
I wish he never did.
Today, my dad's having me drive him over to the shop so he can check up on our two cashiers and take a quick look at inventory. My family owns the little store by the beach where we sell antiques and souvenirs and sea glass. It's called Costal Curios, and my dad is the manager. We have two employees, Anna Custerbeck and Liam Fields. They absolutely despise each other... thank God they only work Saturday shifts together.
"Easy on this turn, that pothole's a doozy," my dad is saying. He's always trying to advise when I need it least; I've probably gone around this corner and avoided the pothole a hundred times.
"I got it, dad," I say in my most soothing voice. I see him relax a little as I execute the turn without a hitch. "Can you turn on the radio?"
He seems a bit uneasy about the possible distraction, but pushes the button anyways. Some cheesy pop song where most of the chorus seems to consist of the words "baby" and "ooh" is on. My dad grimaces.
"Change it if you want," I say. So he does, and on comes a song I've heard a few times and never gotten tired of: Little Lion Man, by Mumford & Sons. I sing a few of the lyrics under my breath.
I turn into the parking lot of Coastal Curios, where Anna's blue VW Bug and Liam's Honda are parked, along with a variety of other, unfamiliar cars, including a silver van with Connecticut license plates. When my dad sees all of those cars, his eyes light up and he grins.
I'm pretty sure "tourist" is my dad's favorite word.
I pull up and park perfectly between Anna's bug and an old green pickup truck. My dad's already at the door, smiling his big "How-Can-I-Help-You Smile" by the time I pull the key out of the ignition. I sit in the front seat for a little while, enjoying the view out the windows. Beyond the porch of the shop, which is really just a renovated bungalow, I can see the foamy blue of the ocean on the rocky beach. Someone in a bright red windbreaker and their friend in a black t-shirt and jeans are walking on the wet beach with their hands in their pockets. I think it's the perfect picture. My hands find their way to my leather satchel.
"Damn," I mutter. I forgot my camera at home in my closet. It's really a darkroom that my dad and brother built for me when I was in sixth grade, but it's in the closet under the stairs in our house. In it I have a basin for the developing solution, a set of shelves, and a couple of strings hung like banners for me to pin my photos to dry. I left my camera there after developing my latest series of pictures. They're all of sunsets.
Reluctantly, I get out of the car and go into the shop, waiting by the door while a woman, who is heavily laden with shopping bags and toddlers, bursts her way through. Inside, the shop is crowded and dusty and warm. Every surface is covered with knickknacks and antiques and various shiny things. At the very back of the dim shop I can see Anna and Liam at the registers, overtaken by a line of customers. My dad is standing by, behind the counter, and looking absolutely thrilled about the two sun-burnt middle-aged women bickering over a snowglobe with a lighthouse inside. I make my way through the maze of objects to the back.
"How long are we gonna be here?" I say to my dad.
"A while. I have to do inventory," my dad answers from the corner of his goofy grin.
I sigh and hitch my satchel strap higher up on my shoulder. As quietly as I can, I slip by all of the customers to the dusty staircase in the corner of the large room. I duck under the string with the little sign saying "Employees Only" that I wrote with pink sharpie when I was eight. The dusty stairs make way for the dusty hallway as my feet tiptoe up. Since the store is a renovated bungalow, there's a kitchen and three bedrooms upstairs. One my dad has turned into an office, where he does paperwork and inventory, and all those other tedious things.The next is a guest bedroom in case we have a fight in our family and someone doesn't want to spend the entire night within a 50-foot radius of the person they're mad at. This used to happen a lot when my brother lived with us. Before he left.
The last room is my art studio. It has other cameras, rolls of film and tripods, as well as shelves of paints and pastels and glue and magazines for every other art project. I breathe in the familiar smell of clay that is ever present in the room and let out a sigh. The sound of it fills the entire space. Upstairs, it's much quieter, and much more bare than the downstairs. Maybe that's why you can hear the ocean so much better up here than you can down there. There isn't as much stuff up here to absorb the sounds, no knick-knacks to take up listening room. I sink down into the green armchair i have placed facing the window on the back wall, letting my satchel slide down my arm to the floor. On the wide windowsill are large jars of sea glass, sorted by color and size. I collect it all with Katie when I don't have pictures to take or homework to do.
My cell phone rings, startling away the quiet. Its bouncy techno beat is muffled somewhat by my bag. I reach in and answer.
"Renny." My best friend is a straight-shooter.
"Hi Katie, it's nice to hear your voice too!" I say, picking at a loose string on my flannel.
"Cut the crap. Where are you?"
"Where am I supposed to be?"
Katie sighs on the other end, the line making the silence between us crackly and full. "You forgot we were going over to Margeaux's house for cider and clothes swap, didn't you...."
I feel completely and utterly stupid, like I've walked into a wall or something. Her disappointment makes it seem about 10 times worse. Of course I had plans today. Thanks for brainwashing me, Dad. Margeaux is a new student at Point Wade High. She moved here from Indiana, and you pronounce her name Margo. Her hair is jet black-almost blue and it's cut like Joan Jett's. She wears red lipstick and leather everyday. She's the perfect kind of outsider to shake up the dull teenage existence in this so-small-it-shouldn't-exist town.
I grab my bag, feeling anxious.
"I'll be there as soon as I can," I say, clomping down the hallway and accidentally stumbling on my shoelace.
"You better be. You know I've had my eye on that peach shirt with the ruffled sleeves that you said doesn't fit you right." Katie's tone is clipped, but I can hear it slowly softening.
I run down the stairs, tucking my phone back into my bag. A small boy holding a pack of old baseball cards is wailing at his uncomfortable-looking father who is slowly pulling his wallet from his back pocket. I look around in the dim lit shop, searching for the bright, easy grin of my father. I find it, and the rest of him, digging through a box of records in the laundry room, where we keep the stuff that can't be displayed, for lack of space, but needs to be within easy access
"Hey, Fally." My dad says, thumbing past a Smashing Pumpkins record in the box. Fally is his nickname for me, because my initials spell F.A.L.
"Hi... uh, Dad? I kind of forgot I had plans with Katie today." Margeaux may not be viewed as the best influence for me, so I choose not to mention her.
My dad stops looking, his fingers poised over Bob Marley. "Aw, Fally, I'm sorry, I didn't realize. Do you need the car?"
He stares determinedly at the washing machine for a second, then sighs. "I guess you can take it, I'll take the bike home when I need to."
I'd forgotten all about the bike. At the shop, we keep a navy blue vintage Harley in case we need to get somewhere but we're without other means of transportation. I smile apologetically, but my dad waves me off.
"You better get going, we know what it's like when Katie's temper gets out of control."
I thank my dad and start out of the store, careful to keep my bag high over my head so I don't bump into the objects for sale or the people buying them. I'm almost to the door when I trip on a loose floorboard, causing my bag to pitch into a tall stack of books nearby. I catch myself just before I faceplant, but something makes me freeze in my stooped position. Through the cascading pages and spines, I see a figure who appears to be watching me through the fluttering papers.
I feel my throat tighten as though there's a fist closing tight around it, and my stomach starts to heave. Whatever balance I had somewhat maintained in catching myself is slowly leaving me, when suddenly I get a grip. Catching myself before I fall forward once more, I take a few slow deep breaths, but I am careful to make sure my back doesn't move, so it appears that I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary. Or, rather, so that it appears I'm being as ordinary as I can be surrounded by an avalanche of books. I can't let Brendon see me losing it, so I straighten up and plaster a smile on my face to please the frightened looking bystanders.
"Sorry, I'm such a klutz." I say through my teeth.
My dad yells from somewhere in the back. "It's alright. I'll get Liam to pick up later." His warm voice is like a golden rope in the dark that Brendon's sudden appearance has caused to encroach on my field of vision. I gratefully pull on that rope, back to a place with more stable footing. I'm starting to feel really hot though.
As casually as I can, I walk out, carefully avoiding Brendon's hard gaze. I can feel his eyes boring into my back, and the little hairs on my neck begin to stand on end.
In the car, I let myself slouch forward, holding my knees to my chest with my forehead on the steering wheel so that I don't spill open. Deep breaths. That strangled feeling is slowly leaving, but my neck hurts, as if there really were fingers grasping it moments before. I sit up, feeling a little bit more together, and start the car. I back out of my space and out onto the road towards Margeaux's house. Katie will know what to do.
She always has.
Tuesday, December 14th - Pep Rally in the Gym during first period today. Time to get pumped for Winter Formal! Or you could always use the extra time to sleep in. Or do drugs. Get pregnant. Eat some chicken. Clean your room. Whatever. Anything’s better than the lousy pep rally.
Friday, December 17th - Tonight is Point Wade High’s Winter Formal. And the theme? Welcome to the Circus. So don your circus-themed formal wear [Maybe it’s time to elect a new Student Council…] and get ready for a night of dancing and fun… in the gym.
Katie and I saunter up the stairs and into the courtyard of the worst place in the world, also known as Point Wade High. There's Forest and Dylan chilling by the flag pole, Amber and Jenson and Dana are smoking at the picnic tables, Alice is pulling up in her shiny convertible, and there's.... Levi. Alone as usual.
I nudge Katie inconspicuously with my elbow to draw her attention.
"It's him." I mutter.
Her big brown eyes wander over to where Levi is sitting under a tall, bare tree, earbuds in. He's my secret crush, only Katie knows. He has these really stupid looking nerd glasses that he wears even though I know from my few small conversations with him that he has 20/20 vision. Also, he is always wearing an orange pullover. It's my favorite color of orange, which is probably why he drew my attention in the first place.
Katie makes this kind of gurgle in her throat and I tear my attention away from Levi to look at her. "What?" I say.
"Ugh, that sweatshirt is so hideous. Why on earth does he have to wear it everywhere?"
"Because it's eye-catching. Especially here where everything is either green, or white and gray in the winter. It's a nice break for me."
"It matches your hair."
I shove her and we walk up the stairs, laughing and pushing each other. I glance at Levi before we clear the threshold and he's watching us intently. And he doesn't look away when I notice this.
-- pep rally time. woo.--
I slowly make my way to the gym, following the masses of other students filtering through the hallways. It's crammed and loud and there are too many bodies. I climb up the bleachers in desperation to get away from the crowd. I spot Levi sitting at the very top with his earbuds in once more, leaning against the wall with his eyes closed. I shuffle around the other people sitting on the top and sit in the clear space next to Levi, about a foot away. I don't know how, but he seems to sense my presence and opens his eyes, turning to look at me. I feel my face turn hot as hell and I turn away, pretending I'm extremely interested in the banner hanging on the gym wall that says "WINTER FORMEL. 12-17-10. BRING A DATE." I chuckle at the misspelling and hear Levi shift in his seat.
What catches me utterly by surprise is the fact that the next moment, when I turn my head to see if Levi's eyes are closed, my cheek catches on what turns out to be the hinge of HIS nerd glasses. I let out a gasp of surprise and he backs up so we're eye to eye but a foot apart again.
"Sorry, wanted to see what you found amusing."
"The... the banner is misspelled."
"Oh, really? I had no idea." He says, leaning back into the corner again. For a minute, I think he's serious. But then I realize there was a tiny hint of sarcasm, and I find myself chuckling.
Satisfied, Levi chuckles too, turning his attention to the Student Council president who's standing on the stage in the middle of the gym, tapping a mic and yelling at an AV guy who's fiddling with the knobs on an amp frustratedly. I watch for a while, then take a deep breath and attempt to start a conversation.
"So, uh, got a date to the Formal?"
Uh oh. That didn't come out right. Now it sounds like I'm /asking/ him to the dance.
"Yeah. My Xbox." Levi says, still watching the president yell herself hoarse.
"You're not going?" I feel a sinking weight in my stomach.
"Nah, dances aggravate me. Mainly because they play a lot of slow songs and I don't have anyone to dance with. Not yet, anyways."
My heart flutters. Is he flirting with me?
"See her?" He says suddenly, pointing to the Student Council president. I knew her name once, but I haven't bothered to remember.
"I wanna dance with her someday."
I feel small. Really small. And this gym is shrinking in on me, I swear. I stand up, perhaps slightly abruptly, and sway. I'm dizzy from a bloodrush. Levi looks at me, surprised.
"Bathroom," I mumble. And before I know it, I'm jumping down the bleachers and out the door, just as I hear behind me the mic finally work, and the voice of Levi's fantasy dance partner booms out from the amps. "HOW YOU GUYS DOIN' TODAY?"
I lean over the sink, my face dripping a mix of water and tears. I don't know why, but I can't stop sobbing. It isn't like I liked him all that much. But somehow the heaving sobs just keep coming. I'm gasping for air when the door to the bathroom opens suddenly, and in walks...
"This is a girl's restroom." I choke out. I attempt to mask the ice in my voice but it comes out anyways. Levi steps back in surprise, almost like he was hit across the face. Which is, really, what I feel like doing to him.
"I... wanted to make sure you were okay, because I knew that you didn't really have to pee. Otherwise, you would have tried to ignore it, twisting your legs and drumming your fingers, and when it became unbearable you would get up much slower."
It's my turn to feel stricken. He knows a lot about the way people work. But obviously not enough. I don't say anything, gulping the air a little slower. The sobs are leaving me. Levi continues.
"I realize that what I said may have been possibly a bit... unsettling. Telling you that I want to dance with one girl, when I'm talking to another. I apologize for that."
I find my voice and speak up.
"It's perfectly fine. I don't know why I did this. I have no clue why I burst out like that. Sorry. You didn't bother me." My first lie to him. "But, uh... if you want to have someone to dance with, we could go to the Formal together..." I say softly.
Levi seems to actually consider this.
"No," my heart sinks, "how about you come to my house and we play Xbox and drink Coke? You can dress up if you want, and we can dance if we want. School functions really aren't my thing."
I'm absolutely stunned. I feel like I'm falling up. Floating, lifting into the air. "Sure." Is all I manage before my throat tightens. Tears of happiness?
No, it's a surge of memories. I try to stay conscious, but the wave of past events crashes around me, pulling me under to a place where I was just as happy as I am now.
It's a bright, warm Sunday. I'm lounging on a blanket on the beach, my long, pale legs stretched out in front of me. I'm wearing jean cutoff shorts and a flannel shirt tied up at my waist and the sleeves rolled up. There's a warm arm around my shoulders and a warm chest on which my head is leaning. I'm gazing out at the blue waves and the blue sky and the white puffy clouds. Then there's a face, blocking all my senses except that faint taste of salty air. Brendon's sea-green eyes are smiling, as are his slightly chapped lips. His cheeks are sprinkled with freckles and his brown hair curls just so at his eyebrows.
My stomach curls in on itself but I feel myself coming back to the present. I stand firm, pushing away Brendon's face, bringing myself back to the bathroom. I'm surprised to see that Levi is still standing in here with me, but he's looking in the mirror, attempting to make his hair flip off to the side. Which is practically impossible, given that his hair is a mass of curls piled on top of his head, 80s fashion.
"Come by around 7. 'Kay?" He says, turning to look at me.
--on his doorstep, praying that the night goes ok--
I push the doorbell, feeling the cuff of my marching band jacket rub on my wrist. I grab it with my fingertips, biting my lip. The door opens, bathing me in a pool of gold. A middle-aged woman with Levi's serious yet smiling eyes and an apron that says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" answers the door. She takes one look at me, turns around, and yells over her shoulder, "LEVI, FLORENCE IS HERE."
I'm kind of shocked she knows my name. And I'm also shocked that Levi told her about me. She holds the door open for me and I step up into their house. The front door opens into the living room, which is small-ish, but cozy, with a big purple couch and an old television and a small black and white cat that appears to be sleeping, curled in a ball on the cream carpet. Across the room I can see a half wall separates the kitchen and kitchenette from the living room. A timer is beeping on the oven, where a large pot sits. The kitchenette table is round and white with black egg chairs. There are three places set with pretty burgundy place-mats. The room smells like chicken stock.
"Please, make yourself at home. I'm Stephanie, Levi's mother. He'll be up shortly."
I take off my jacket and fold it over on my arm before setting it on the purple couch. I put my leather satchel on top of it. I'm wearing a sequined stripy dress and my favorite torn jeans. The sequins sparkle in the light from the kitchen. I hear stomping on stairs and suddenly there is Levi, wearing a shirt that says "You read my t-shirt. That's enough social interaction for one day." I chuckle. He smiles at me. I notice that for once he isn't wearing his orange pullover. I miss it.
"Good evening." He says.
"Hi," I say. "Oh, and by the way, call me Renny."
"Awesome. And you can call me Denim or The Great Pumpkin if you want. You know, Levi's denim. My mom tells me I look like The Great Pumpkin in my sweatshirt, so she calls me that."
"I think I'll stick to Levi, thanks."
"Alright, but you're missing out. It's loads of fun to be compared to a mythical saint of Halloween."
Thursday, January 13th - Snow day! Though there’s still too much snow to get to school, the power is back and if you’re lucky you might be able to clear a path to a friend’s house.
"Why would you do this to me?" A whisper is echoing in the back of my conscious, repeating over and over and over. I feel like I'm trapped in a small, dark box. I can't see anything or feel anything except a subtle pressure on my throat.
"Why?...Why?...Why?" It echoes, and the pressure on my neck grows stronger, as if a pair of hands are slowly trying to strangle me. I feel my air supply constricting. I choke and gasp for air, my stomach heaving. It's so painful, and I think... I'm going to die. Right here, right now. Strangled by an invisible force.
Light. There is so much light. The backs of my eyelids are bright, bright red, small bursts of white light popping.
"Florence!! Can you hear me? Renny!!!!" I try to open my eyelids, but they only flutter. I hear someone sigh, "Renny...." I try with more effort to open my eyes and manage to lift my lids very slowly. My vision is blurred, and I blink as quickly as my eyes allow to clear it. Above me, Mom, Dad, and Katie are standing, looking on with a mixture of relief and concern. Katie's hair is knotted and tangled, like she just got out of bed. I begin to ask what's going on, but all that comes out of my mouth is a strange gurgle that hurts.
"Shh," Mom puts her finger to my lips to stop me from talking. "Just relax. You're okay, and that's all that matters." Well, that certainly doesn't help me calm down. What does she mean, I'm okay?"
"We were really worried, Ren. You really scared us." Katie says, and I notice her voice is shaking, like she was crying seconds before. Sure enough, her eyes are red and waterlogged. This send me into what can only be described as a frenzied state of panic. I try to sit up, but find out I'm extremely trapped. I look down and realize that I'm wrapped like a mummy in my sheets. My arms are trapped at my sides and my back is curved at an odd angle; I could only get into this situation by writhing in my sleep.
"Mom, what happened?" I finally manage to choke out.
Mom and Dad exchange looks, but Katie's eyes never leave mine. She reaches up to my neck where the sheet stops and helps me to free myself from my uncomfortable cocoon.
"Well, Ren.... See... we think you were having a nightmare, you were twisting around and sort of panting, and you were moaning, too. We think you were saying something like "no" but we're not sure because you seemed really out of breath. It started about half an hour ago, we've been trying to wake you up, we were afraid you were having a seizure." Katie gushes. Mom and Dad look scared, like I might react in a way that might hurt them. But all I can do is deflate.
A nightmare? My heart /is/ pumping like crazy still, so that I can hear the blood in my ears. But... I don't remember anything in that dream except the voice.
Hang on.... I remember that voice. And that's when the retching begins.
My stomach is heaving, trying to make me vomit, but nothing's coming up because I haven't eaten anything since 4 in the afternoon yesterday. So I just sit there in my bed, doubled over with my face toward the floor, retching and coughing. Katie gasps. She knows what my nightmare was about, too.
▲ three hours later ▲
I am sitting in my armchair at Coastal Curios and reading Looking For Alaska by John Green, trying to get calm. Mom and Dad have been really cautious around me, thinking I might collapse at any second, foaming at the mouth and twitching erratically even though I've told them a hundred times that I'm fine.
I don't feel fine though. My stomach is still rejecting all food options, so I'm starving but unable to eat, and my throat is raw from coughing. I'm also really jumpy whenever I hear a noise that sounds remotely like the voice of my nightmare.
I'm not really paying attention to my book, instead just gazing out the window to the beach. Maybe I should get some fresh air. That might do me some good.
Outside, the air is cold and crisp as only January air can be. The ground is blanketed in mounds of white-gray snow, the water is harshly blue against its stark surroundings. I breathe in the salty smell of the ocean to try to clear my mind. It kind of works. But then I remember something.
"Brendon?" I ask, stroking the veins on the inside of his forearm. A warm, salty breeze blows over my face, pushing strands of my hair into my eyelashes. I bat them away.
"Mm?" He says. His eyes are focused on the cerulean waves.
I wait, looking at him until he turns his head and meets my gaze.
"Do you love me?"
Brendon's face lights up. "Of course I do, Renny. Of course I do," he says. He kisses my forehead, one of his big hands on the back of my neck.
That pressure seems more ominous now I think about it.
I stumble, unsure of my surroundings, and then I hear a SPLOOSH and I am very, very cold. I scream. The cold is biting into me like millions of razor-sharp teeth. I scream and then there isn't any air.
Two thoughts cross my mind.
I am going to drown.
I do not want to die.
I open my eyes slowly, and immediately feel my body shudder. I am shaking uncontrollably, and I am /so/ cold.
"Ah..." I emit a small noise, small enough to not hurt myself, but loud enough to be noticed by anyone around.
"Shhhh..." My answer. I try to turn my head to look around, but my body is shaking so badly I can't. So I just stare at the white ceiling with one crack down the center and a spot of reddish light near the corner. Whose ceiling is this?
And then I see him. Levi is suddenly standing over me, holding a hot water bottle in one hand and a bowl of something steaming in the other. He sits down next to me and peels back the five layers of blankets on me. Which is when I see I'm wearing an unfamiliar purple T-shirt that says 'Nirvana' in gray letters. Under the shirt, I see my long, pale legs stretched out and quivering. I'm wearing a pair of striped... boxers?
Levi places the hot water bottle on my stomach and I feel my shivers lessen slightly. He replaces all of the covers, and then he just sits.
"Levi..." I mumble.
"Shh, Florence, don't talk. Save your energy." He says. He's wearing my favorite Great Pumpkin sweatshirt. I feel something warm swell in my chest. My heart almost feels like it's expanding.
"I have to." I say. "I have to talk. I have to tell you."
Levi puts a finger to my lips the way Mom did such a long time ago.
"Where's Mom?" I say with his finger still on my mouth. It's warm. It feels nice.
"Don't worry. We'll call her. Just rest." He picks up a spoon and fills it with the steaming stuff from the bowl. He blows on it before moving it toward my mouth. I open resignedly, saving my energy like he said. The soup is warm, chicken-noodle.
We stay there, me lying down, him sitting and spooning soup into my mouth, for a long time, until the bowl is empty. And then I feel very sleepy. But before I completely drift off, I extricate my hand and place it over Levi's on his lap. His hand is very warm and soft.
And then I'm asleep.