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Author's note: I just randomly sat down one day and started writing...so tell me what you think so far!
you know that part of a movie, where the girl is at a night club, standing in the middle of the crowd, and the music is blaring and the lights are flashing and the people are all bumping into her, but she’s moving in slow motion, because she sees a guy and they share, like, a moment or something? that’s what’s happening to me right now. the music is blaring and the lights are flashing and the people are bumping, but everything’s going in slow motion and all i see is him. our eyes meet, and i blush-he caught me staring.
his eyes are ice blue, but they burn through me like fire. ice, like my nickname. since the past couple of years, my friends call ice instead of my real name, hailey. i like ice better. hailey was too...good girl for me now. anyways, he has short hair, a little longer in the front, spiked up with gel. he’s sitting at the bar, alone, but not drinking anything.
i feel a hand on my shoulder, and turn to see my best friend miranda. “hey ice, go get him!” she shouts loudly in my ear. i flinch.
“who?” i ask innocently.
“that hot babe you’ve been staring at for the past five minutes! the guy at the bar, sitting there with his lonely self? go get him, girl!”
i blush again, but feeling more confident now, walk towards the bar. he turns and smiles at me, and i smile back. everything is going in slow motion again. suddenly, a girl pushes from behind me, and runs toward him, squealing “josh!”
he gets up, and embraces the girl. she’s tall, with dark hair down her back. she’s wearing a very short skirt and heels, but he’s still taller than her.
i stop walking, dejected. i don’t know how i could have ever thought that he was single. i should have suspected that he was waiting for someone.
suddenly, i didn’t really feel like being out anymore.
i walk outside and wave down a taxi.
i give him my home address and hand him a twenty when we get there. i’m surprised miranda hadn’t called my cell yet...she’s probably wondering where i am.
honestly, i don’t really care. i just want to be alone.
as quietly as possible, i unlock the front door and creep inside. to my surprise, as i’m almost to the stairs, the light in the living room turns on.
“where have you been?” my mother asks me. she is completely calm, which i suppose is worse than yelling right now.
“out.” i say.
“i’m sure you know very well that it is two thirty in the morning. and i’m positive that you know when your curfew is. correct?” her voice is shaky.
my curfew is midnight. it’s way too early and i rarely ever came home around then on the weekends.
i’ve never been caught before, though.
usually miranda and i and a couple of other girls and guys from our class would go out until two or three o’clock in the morning, when miranda would drive us all back. she was the only one from our group who didn’t have a curfew and had her own car. we all gave her gas money.
“and what are you wearing?” my mother asks, horrified.
i look down at my strapless, black, mini-dress.
“a dress, are you blind?.” i snap.
“excuse me? you don’t talk to your mother like that.” she yells. “you need to treat me with some respect. just because your father...” she trails off. “doesn’t mean that you can treat me like crap. ever since he...left...you’ve been a different person! where did my little hailey go?”
silent tears slip down my face and i realize she’s right.
i’m not the same person anymore.
ever since dad left...i felt like maybe if i just hung out with people all the time...i’d stop thinking about him, i’d stop hurting.
but now i know, that no matter what...
i’ll always be alone.
Tonight, me and mom had a fight. Sort of. Mostly, she just yelled at me for changing when dad left, but I wasn’t the only one who changed around here. She changed too. It’s like...she just forgot about me and Casey. I mean, we’re her daughters. And Casey is only eight. All mom has been doing for the past year and a half is work and watch soap operas alone in her bedroom with a huge container of ice cream. She’s put on a few pounds since then, but no one’s had the guts to tell her. She probably doesn’t even notice that her pants are sucking the life out of her.
Anyways, last week, Casey came home crying from school. I asked her what was wrong, and she said that she didn’t understand anything she was learning in school. She also said that she missed mom and dad. I felt bad for her. I mean...she was six when dad left, so she completely remembers what life was like around here before then. Mom was happy and spent time with us, actually cared, and I...well I wasn’t such a...jerk.
I put down my pen as I realize that what I wrote is true. I mean, me and Casey have never been too close because of the age difference, but since dad left and mom just holes up in her room all the time...Casey doesn’t really have a role model.
And I was always out with friends or doing ‘homework’ in my room. Mom hadn’t even noticed that my grades were slipping. She hadn’t really yelled at me until last night. It was like...something snapped inside of her.
And now something seemed to be snapping inside of me.
Things had to change around here.
For mom, for me, and especially for Casey. And I was going to make that happen.
Casey is still sleeping. I wish I was, too. Usually after a night like last night, I would be sleeping till noon. But not today. Today is step one of my plan to rebuild our family.
After writing my diary entry last night, I wrote down a step by step plan:
Step one: Send mom to the spa so we can fix up the house. Do all the dishes that have been sitting there for months, clean up all the crap in the living room, wash the bathroom, clean all three of the bedrooms, do all the laundry, and vacuum the WHOLE house. Every single room. Oh and maybe mop the kitchen first.
Step two: go to the store and buy healthy food and stuff so we can have a family meal tonight.
Step three: Find Casey help in school. Help her fit in by getting her new clothes, call her teacher and ask about after school help, have a party at the house so she can make new friends (if we get that far)
Step four: Get myself a job so I can start helping pay the bills and get mom to not have to work so much.
Step five: Help mom get over dad. Stop letting her buy cookies and chocolate ice cream. She needs to lose some weight if she wants to be back in the dating world again.
That was as far as I got. It wasn’t the best plan or the most organized, but it was possible and sure as heck going to happen.
“Casey!” I shout into her room. “Get up! It’s day one of ‘fix the family’, FTF for short, plan!”
“huh?” she asks, groggy and blinking through the bright light of her bedroom. I throw her the piece of paper that has the FTF plan on it.
“Read.” I say. She stares at the paper for about five minutes, before she looks up at me, ashamed.
Wow. I thought she could at least read that. Maybe we were in deeper than I thought. But I decided to be patient with her. So I sat down on her bed and read her the whole plan.
She listens carefully, and when I’m done reading looks at me, beaming. She wraps her arms around me in an unexpected hug, and I gently hug her back.
I clear my throat. She’s still clinging on to me. “ well. let’s get started!”
“The spa. I woke her up an hour ago and dragged her out of the house. She won’t be back until four.”
Casey gives me a high five. “ Nice work, sis. Before we start cleaning though, could we have breakfast?”
“Um...” I don’t usually eat breakfast. But I was trying to be a good role model for her, so I said, “Sure. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?” I wasn’t completely positive on this fact, but Casey looked at me and nodded admiringly.
We walk into the kitchen and open the fridge. This is all there is:
-one egg, out of the carton
-a bottle of spicy mustard
-three pickles in a jar
-a moldy orange, and
-a dead fly
“Whoa.” We both say in amazement.
“Guess we’ll have to do step two today, huh?” Casey says.
“Guess so.” I answer. I pull all five disgusting things out and throw them away. “Let’s try the cupboard.” This time, we find:
-an almost empty box of cheerios
-a box of uncooked pasta
-last weeks fortune cookies from Chinese take-out
-a can of tomato sauce, and
“I like Oreos.” Casey says, trying to be helpful.
“Me too.” I say.
We look at each other and start cracking up. I shove a couple things over on our little kitchen table and we sit down, each eating two Oreos and a cup of tap water.
“Okay.” I say, “ Let’s get started. “
“What do you want me to do?” Casey asks.
“First, follow me.” I lead her into my bedroom to my desk. I plug my iPod into my ihome, press play, and turn it up as loud as it can go. “Let’s start the dishes!” I shout over the Black Eyed Peas ‘I Gotta Feeling’.
“Okay!” She shouts back, laughing.
We spend the next four hours cleaning the house until it was completely spotless, singing and laughing the whole time.
Then we plop down on the newly vacuumed couch, looking around in approval.
“Wow.” Casey sighs, “It looks like a different place in here!”
“I know.” I agree, “it looks great. We did awesome. Thanks for all your help!” We high five.
I pull out my FTF plan and check off step one.
“Let’s see...” I say, “what’s next?”
We decide to walk to Hannaford’s. It’s only a short walk away, but I had no idea how we were going to carry all the food home. Before we left, we made a list so we had a rough idea of what to get:
-milk, eggs and bread
-snacks like crackers and fruit roll ups
-stuff to make meatballs for tonight’s dinner
-and two lottery tickets
It wasn’t really a good list, but we weren’t sure what else mom would want us to get. Also, we didn’t have that much money. I took fifty dollars from my savings under my mattress and one hundred dollars from the jar on the counter. It was our ‘vacation savings’ but we rarely had any extra money to put in it and now it was half gone.
I hoped mom wouldn’t mind.
When we get there, we split up and find everything we think we need that’s under our budget of one hundred fifty.
Casey says that she’ll pay for the lottery tickets. She brought two dollars, and she seemed like she really wanted to help with something, so I let her.
On the way home we’re both carrying too many bags then should be possible for our sizes. I mean, we were both tall, but skinny and not to strong.
All of a sudden I get that feeling that someone’s staring at me. I turn around to see who but Josh, the guy from the bar last night.
“Oh my God.” I whisper to Casey.
“What?” She asks, looking around. “Do you know that guy?” She whispers back.
“Shh!” I exclaim. Thankfully, she stops talking.
“Hey, do you two need some help with those bags? They look heavy.” I turn and see Josh chuckling at me. I blush.
“Oh, um, I think we’re fine, but thanks.”
“Hey your that girl who was at the club last night, weren’t you?”
“I think you have the wrong girl...” I say, looking down at my worn black converse. There’s a bunch of things written all over them in sharpie from my friends.
Casey nudges me hard with her bags, as if to say, let him help! I don’t do anything, so she looks at Josh and says, “I’m Casey. This is my sister Ice. She was at the club last night I’m sure. Heck, she’s there practically every night these days.” She shakes her head as if to be disapproving. Handing him some of her bags, she says, “and yes, we could use some help, thank you.”
“Casey!” I say to her with clenched teeth. Josh is laughing. “I’m so sorry.”
“No, no it’s fine!” He says, taking two of my bags. As embarrassed as I am, it’s a relief to not be carrying so many. “Where are you two lovely ladies off to? Oh, and by the way, I’m Josh.”
”I know.” I mumble.
“What’s that?” he asks.
“Oh, uh, nothing. It’s nice to meet you.” Again. “We’re just going back to our house.”
“Yeah...it’s right around the corner.”
“Why did you walk so far if you knew you were getting so many groceries?” he asks, laughing again. Boy this guy thought he was funny.
“Our, um, car isn’t working.” I blush yet again.
“Hey, I’m good with cars, maybe I can fix it!” He says.
“Oh, that’s okay. We really don’t have the money right now to pay a mechanic.”
“How about this. You let me take you out to dinner, and I’ll do it for free.” Casey squeals and I nudge her hard with my elbow.
“Ow!” She complains.
“Don’t you have, like a girlfriend or something to get back to?” I ask.
“Nope, I actually don’t.” he says.
This makes me mad. What a cheater! I wonder if his girlfriend he was with last night knows how he hits on the girls he sees on the sidewalk.
“Liar! What about the girl you were with last night? That was obviously your girlfriend...i saw the way you hugged her!” I try to wiggle the bags out of his arms.
“You were watching me?” he asks.
“Just give me my bags and go.” I say, fuming.
“I think there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding. The girl I was with last night wasn’t my girlfriend, it was my sister. She was just engaged to be married and I was congratulating her.”
“Oh. Oh my God. I’m so sorry!” I start to blush again.
“It’s fine, really.”
I finally get a good look at him.
He’s probably my age, seventeen, and his blue eyes are definitely his most prominent feature. His hair is brown, lighter than I thought it was. He’s wearing a black American Eagle tee-shirt and jeans. His smile is breathtaking. He seems to be taking in my loose tank-top and ultra short jean shorts.
“We’ve been cleaning all day.” I explain. He nods.
“You look amazing, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Wow this guy is good at making me blush.
“So what do you say to dinner tomorrow night?”
“I take that as a yes.”
Josh walked us the rest of the way home and helped us put away the food. Then he looked at the car. He said he could fix it if he had some more time, so I told him he could come over next weekend and try. I gave him my cell phone number and Casey later told me that that had been a good start for our budding relationship. I had just rolled my eyes, but inside I was beaming.
Now me and Casey are sitting at the (now clean) kitchen table, the meatballs in the oven, finally scratching off the lottery tickets.
“Oh. My. God!” Casey screams. She stands up on her chair and does a little excited dance on it.
“What? Did you win?” I ask, expecting her to say she won, like, five dollars or something.
“Yes! Five hundred dollars!” She yells in my face.
“Whoa...let me see that!” I look at the ticket and see that she’s telling the truth.
Five hundred dollars! Five hundred dollars! Oh my God! There was so much we could do with that money!
“Oh my God!” I hop up in the chair and then pull her onto the table. It was small and rickety, but I didn’t care. We started doing the dance that she had been doing on her chair before.
All of a sudden my mom walks in.
“Wha...?” She asks, thoroughly confused. I jump off the table with the ticket and shout at her like a little girl.
“Five hundred dollars! Casey won five hundred dollars!”
“What? How? And what happened around here? And why did you send me to the spa today?” She seems mad about this, though I wonder why. I wish someone would send me to the spa.
“I sent you to the spa so we could clean the house. And then we went to the store and bought a lot of food, and two lottery tickets, and Casey won five hundred dollars.”
“Let me see that.” She says, still not believing me. I hand her the ticket. Her eyes bulge out of her head and I know she believes me now. “This better not be some sick joke you two are playing on me.” She mutters while searching the whole card for an indication of a trick.
“Nope.” I say smugly. She finds nothing wrong with it and cracks a smile...something I haven’t seen in almost two years.
Then she does something I never thought I’d see my mother do.
She hops up on the table and starts to dance.
The FTF plan is going great! Step one is complete and the house looks amazing. I swear mom almost passed out when she went into each room to see how good they looked. Me and Casey were so proud. Its midnight, but I’m already going to bed. It’s usually late for other people, but right around now would be the time Miranda would pick me up. Come to think of it, I haven’t turned my phone on since Friday night. Miranda had probably called and texted me a bunch of times.
I grab my phone off of my desk and turn it on.
13 missed calls, all from Miranda.
17 texts, 16 from Miranda, 1 from a number that wasn’t in my contacts.
Most of Miranda’s texts said things like ‘where are you?’ and ‘call me back!’ The last text from the unknown number said ‘hey ice, its josh. i’ll give you a call later about dinner?’ He had sent that about an hour after he had left our house, but there weren’t any missed calls from him.
I decided to call Miranda before I answered his text. She must be worried about me. The phone rings six times before she answers.
“Hi Miranda. It’s Ice.”
“Oh hey!” She slurs. I can hear pounding music in the background, but all of a sudden it gets muted. “Sorry. I’m in the bathroom now so I can hear you. Where’ve ya been?” Her words drag out.
“Are you drunk?” I ask. Usually when we go out we don’t drink too much. At least I don’t.
“Pshh, nooo.” She says.
“You know what; I’ll just call you tomorrow.”
“No! No! You’ve ignored me to long, baby.”
“It’s fine. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Come to the club!”
“Why not?” She whines.
“With that boy you hooked up with the other night? You can bring him too!”
“No.” I say, exasperated.
“Well then will you come pick us up in an hour?”
“You know, the usual, me, AJ, John, Michelle, and Max? Max misses you, now he’s the fifth wheel! Ha-ha!”
“Get a cab. I’m going to bed.”
And then I hung up.
Well, so much for being worried about me.