Twisted Words

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    BroadwayB

    Posts : 23
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    Join date : 2010-06-19
    Age : 23

    Twisted Words

    Post by BroadwayB on Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:15 pm

    Prologue



    “One more time; five-six-seven-eight!”



    Pique, step, glissade, grande jete! And five, and...



    I fell, far from gracefully onto the floor… again. It would, of course, be me who finds the one slick spot on the entire black marley floor of the third studio at my dance school. I picked myself of the floor, grimacing slightly as I put weight onto my ankle. My instructor, Susan, watched me cautiously. Then she said, “I think we should leave this alone until tomorrow. Leslie,” She said, pointing at me. “Take care of yourself. Ice it tonight, just in case.”



    I smiled and nodded. I’d needed to ice my ankle nearly every day over the last week. Or my knee. Or my shoulder. I made a mental note and walked with the others into the dressing room. They all laughingly joked with me about falling, which, by now, was practically a routine. When I walked out, my mom was waiting for me.



    “We’re going to the mall now.” She said.



    I honestly don’t think I have ever been to the mall without being covered in sweat. We always went after classes. It’s really attractive, I’m sure.



    “Why?” I asked.



    “You need more jeans and long sleeved shirts. It’s starting to get chilly.”



    It was true. I was in desperate need of warm clothes. We walked to the car together, and I only stumbled once. Ha!



    We walked into Old Navy and I proceeded to run right into a manikin. Much to my embarrassment, I thought it was a real person and so I apologized. As my face flushed an interesting shade of red, I heard a familiar voice. When I turned, my boyfriend, Phillip, was standing behind me. He had seen the whole incident. However, he was too busy laughing to say anything so I decided to time how long it took for him to stop.



    Exactly one minute and fifty-three seconds later, Phillip finally stopped his hysterics. He gasped for air a few times while I gave him a semi-amused look. He looked up and I could tell he was crying from laughing so hard.



    “You were talking to a manican,” he choked out. That was all he said before he turned out and went toward his buddies near the food court. I don’t think I’m ever going to understand guys.



    After, we had checked out with jeans, v-necks, and hoodies, I realized I was disgusting looking, even with a pony-tail in. Phillip saw me looking like I had just had four hours of an intense workout, which was true: that’s the definition of rehearsal, by the way. With that thought on my mind, I stalked back to the car, only to tell my best friend, Catherine, about it on the way home.


    Chapter 1



    Catherine and I walked into the chorus room at exactly 7:45, right on time for drama. Already waiting was two of my other besties, Kelsey and Anna, and our teachers, Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Carpenter. Kelsey was, like usual, fawning over Mr. Carpenter. I rolled my eyes and sat down waiting for the pre-audition meeting. Today was the day we’d find out what musical we’d be doing. Finally, the rest of the club members arrived and the meeting commenced. Mrs. Bradley stepped forward.

    “I realize this has been a long, tedious wait for you guys, but Mr. Carpenter and I have finally chosen a musical.”

    We all cheered our guts out. Then, we got quiet, sitting on the edges of our seats, waiting for her to continue.

    “We decided on this particular musical because of its incredible music, abilities for you guys to show off, and roles that can double as a girl or a boy. Plus, it’s a well-known story. So, without further ado, Oakwood High School will be performing…”

    Everyone stopped breathing.

    “The Lion King!” Mrs. Bradley finally spat out.

    My besties and I immediately started whooping and clapping and shouting “YES!!!” while the rest of the class stared at us. We grew self-consious and quieted down.

    “Yes, the Lion King. Now remember, auditions are next week and if you haven’t already, you need to sign up for your slot. I have the selections you need to memorize here. See you all next week!”

    ~*~




    The next week flew by in a blur. I managed to continue to make decent grades in all of my honors classes, but still devoted any and all free time to my memorization. On Wednesday morning at 7:35, I was waiting outside the auditorium door. Auditions at my school are open to whoever wants to watch, so it can be pretty nerve-wracking. I walked onstage, looking out at the audience. Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Carpenter sat in the second row, and the five rows behind them were filled with eager, almost hunger faces.

    The music began to play; I took a deep breath, and began singing my selection. It was an excerpt from “Shadowland,” one of the lead female, Nala’s, songs. My teachers kept straight faces, yet some of the other audience members simply couldn’t. Those few gaped at me, wide eyes and mouth open. My music ended, and I recited my lines with a senior who had auditioned for Simba. It was then that I realized there was no way that I, a freshman, could play alongside a senior, but at least I was having a blast. After what seemed like forever, my try-out had finished, and I was told results would come back by Friday.

    I wonder how professional actors and actresses can stand the waiting. I mean, sure it was only two days, but still, it seemed absolutely endless. Finally, Friday rolled around and I rushed to the theatre, nearly dragging Catherine and Anna along, Kelsey dashing after me. I read the cast list from top to bottom, until I saw who each of my friends were and who the leads were.

    2010/2011 Oakwood High Schools’s The Lion King
    Cast List

    Young Simba: Madison Montoya

    Adult Simba: Fred Smith

    Scar: Anna Patterson

    Adult Nala: Leslie Featherhood

    Timon: Caleb Baker

    Young Nala: Sara Parks

    Mufasa: Troy Johnson

    Pumbaa: Andrew Kitts

    Rafiki: Kelsey Jackson

    Shenzai: Catherine Jacobs



    The list continued on, but I paid no mind to it. I had seen all I needed. So Catherine was a hyena; she’d have fun with that. And Kelsey was Rafiki; what fun for her. And I could totally see Anna being Scar; she already has an obsession with villains, I mean, why not. And then… My role… A freshman… As… Nala?

    Chapter 2:



    “I swear to God, if I see Sarah Beth and Kate’s faces again, I’m gonna barf up my small intestine!” Anna stated for the umpteenth time.

    “I know! Sarah Beth’s such a… yeah,” I replied. I don’t cuss; it just doesn’t happen.

    Catherine, Kelsey, Anna, and I leaned in towards each other in the crowded lunchroom. This was private. Catherine took a deep breath, and then began.

    “Ok, so I was highlighting my lines, in blue, I might add, when Sarah came up behind me, snatched it out of my hands, and was like ‘Oh, I didn’t realize this was a _____ musical. Disney. Psh!’ Then, as she was walking away, threw my script on the ground and she and Kate walked across it. My poor baby,”

    Kelsey’s eyes welled up; it killed her to see us mistreated by them. She was used to it, but we were delicate in her eyes. Then, strutting out from the crowd came…

    “Speak of the devil and he shall appear,” I muttered under my breath.

    All of a sudden, much to our surprise, Sarah Beth tripped over an olive-skinned girl and fell on her face, Kate following her. The entire cafeteria was silent as they calmly rose, made a rude hand gesture at the poor dark-haired girl, and stalked menacingly out of the room. Normal activity slowly resumed, but we remained staring at her.

    “Ok, who’s the gutsy chick?” Anna asked. Not, waiting for an answer, loudly shouted, “Hey! You in the Billy Elliot shirt!”

    “Anna…” we all collectively groaned, but the girl proceeded to trudge to our table.

    “Dancer,” I said, out of habit.

    My friends were rolling their eyes at me as the girl finally arrived at our table. She was average in height, olive-toned, and muscular. It turns out I was right (for once); she was a dancer. She sat down nervously at our table. Catherine broke the awkward silence.

    “Soooooooo,” she began slowly. “What’s your name?”

    “Madison,” she replied.

    “Madison what?” Kelsey asked, curiously.

    “Montoya. Madison Montoya,” she said with a smile.

    Realization caught me. I knew her, or, at least, I knew of her.

    “You play Baby Simba, don’t you!” I exclaimed, proud of my discovery.

    She smiled back at me. “Yeah. I do.”

    “Awesome-sauce,” Catherine said quietly. “I try to eat you.”

    A dramatic silence ensued, and Catherine blushed slightly. A guy in our geometry class, Ken, walked by and quickly said, “You look cute when you blush, Catherine.” The aforementioned comment sent Catherine into a raging red flurry of confusion and embarrassment.

    “Awkward,” Kelsey mumbled, making all five of us giggle uncontrollably. Suddenly, the piercing bell rang throughout the cafeteria, and everyone rushed to get out of the doors, with us leading the way.

    We practically ran to Honors English, which Madison was in with us. Each person sat close to one another and looked up at Mrs. Gordan. She looked to be in her sixties, with poor health and pathetic teaching. We hardly did anything in there.

    She waited until everybody was quiet, and then said, after coughing her lungs out, “I’m feeling under the weather today, so ya’ll can just do what you want.”

    Chaos followed; desks were moved, phones and iPods taken out. My group lounged in a circle on the floor, typical us. It was Friday and I had no dance, so I arranged a sleepover at my house. Everyone was to arrive at 6:30. With the final plans being made, the buses were called and bid each other goodbye, until tonight anyhow.

    ~ * ~




    My alarm clock rang out. 6:00. My friends would here in a half hour. My room was set up and ready to go. My double bed was in the basement outside my room, leaving more room for sleeping bags. The bedside table was in my huge walk-in closet. The dresser was lined up with beauty supplies, Chex Mix, Cheese Puffs, and a mini-fridge with cans of Coke, waiting to be devoured. Finally, a karaoke machine and a 12 in. TV sat on my desk, the CDs in neat stacks arranged by genre.

    The doorbell rang and I rushed upstairs in my skinny jeans, purple belted tunic, and pink pig slippers. I looked pretty hot, in my honest opinion. I opened the door and there stood Catherine and Anna, who had carpooled. Two down, two to go. I hugged each of them, and they dropped their stuff off downstairs in my room and waited by the door with me. Catherine had on a red, spaghetti strap dress, dark wash jeans, and pretty black flats. Classically cute. Anna was a totally different story, however. Wearing her grey straight leg jeans, black pirate tee shirt, black converse and single earring, she looked “Anna-cute,” a term that Catherine and I created.

    We opened the door before Madison even had a chance to ring the doorbell. She was wearing light-wash jeans, a faded “I ♥️ Oz” tee-shirt, and blue converse, she looked nice in a casual way. I love her, I couldn’t help thinking. She gave a big, toothy grin, and Anna showed her to my room while Catherine and I waited for Kelsey. She finally showed up at a quarter to seven, wearing her pjs already. We all ran down the stairs to my room, and the fun began…



    Chex Mix and Cheese Puffs were distributed in bowls, Cokes passes out. We all sat in a circle on the floor and began to talk about anything and everything, from politics to religious tolerance. Then, we felt pretty hyper after the sugar intake, so the karaoke machine was plugged in and the video camera set up.

    “Who wants to go first?” I asked, the red light shining on the video camera, starring out at everybody. No one stepped up. “Fine,” I grumbled slightly. “Guess I’ll go.” I inserted my Michael Jackson karaoke CD and tapped my foot to the familiar beat. I belted out “Beat It” to the very end, from every “Hee hee!” to every “OW!” We all laughed at my dance impersonation and crazy falsettos. Finally, it was someone else’s turn.

    Madison stepped up and inserted the Legally Blond: The Musical CD, and began singing “Omigosh You Guys!” She captured the style quickly and really began acting. We all saw why she got the role of Simba. She danced around the room, shaking our shoulders, practically scream-singing at times, but not a single person cared.

    Anna opted out, like usual, and continued filming as Catherine stepped up and inserted my Taylor Swift CD. We all shook our heads from side to side like rock stars as “You Belong with Me” filled my room. Hysterical giggling ensued as air-guitar players erupted out of nowhere in the forms of Kelsey and Madi, as she had asked us to call her. Kelsey stepped up next and sang her soul song; I guess you could say, “The Phantom of the Opera.” She was so intense, but absolutely incredible. Twinges of jealousy ran through each of us. I mean, Kelsey is one of the best singers I have ever heard.

    With the video complete, we dressed into our pajamas while we waited for it to download onto my computer. I barely noticed the glances Madi threw at our flat stomachs, but brushed it off. I’m probably just imagining things again. Loser. I smiled to myself as my thoughts playfully abused me. We finally posted the film-ette on YouTube, and then promptly fell asleep.

    The next morning, we awoke to complete bed-heads and makeup smeared across our faces. Kelsey grinned, while saying, “Okay, this is Facebook worthy!” Our mouths gaped open as she took out her phone and snapped a shot of each of us.

    “There goes our reputations,” Catherine sighed.

    “What reputations?” I asked, jokingly.

    We stumbled up the stairs, still laughing our butts off. Then, the fridge began calling us. We took out fruit, frozen waffles, and bagels and laid them on the table. Each of us piled our plates high, save Madi. She simply had an apple. I looked at her questioningly until she said, “I, um, usually eat a small breakfast.” I smiled understandingly and continued to wolf down my waffles and strawberries.

    Finally, far too soon for my taste, the house was empty except for my family. I took out my Geometry and began my homework as the excitement wore off, dreaming of The Lion King and Broadway.

    Chapter 3:



    Catherine approached me at my locker the next morning, during class change.

    “Is it me, or are Sarah Beth and Kate acting bitchier than usual?” she asked hesitantly.

    I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. They always acted catty, but I didn’t think that was what she meant.

    “How do you mean that?” I asked curiously.

    She sighed and looked toward their direction.

    “They keep calling Madi fat, and I’m not sure why. I’m not even sure if it’s a problem or not, but still…” she trailed off.

    My brain reeled inside its skull. Calling girls fat was a new low, even for them.

    “Wait. What?” I asked, utterly lost.

    “You heard me,” Catherine said curtly. She pursed her lips and turned away from the girls filing their claws, I mean nails, at their lockers. I looked at my best friend closely for the first time that day. Her eyes were slightly puffy and red, and she had darker circles than usual under them. Her hair was ever-so-slightly frizzy, which meant that by the end of the day, it would me a monstrous mass of frizz. She hadn’t straightened her hair for the first time in two or three years. My breath caught in my throat for a second, and I cleared it.

    “Cathie, girl, is everything okay?” I asked.

    She sniffed, and replied, “Yeah, it’s fine.”

    “Catherine,” I said incredulously.

    “Okay, fine. You’re right. I’m not okay. But,” she paused, sniffing, “I’m not really ready to talk about it yet.”

    “Alright,” I nodded. “But when you are ready, I’m here for you.”

    I reached in a squeezed her hard, praying that the teachers weren’t around to “arrest” me for PDA. Stupid school-board, I couldn’t help thinking. And with that final gesture, we parted our separate ways, Catherine to Honors Ancient History, me to Honors Biology I.

    ~*~




    Hey soul sister, Ain’t that mister mister! My ringtone blasted through my previously silent room. I glanced down at my phone, checking the caller id. Seeing that it was Phillip, I sighed. I didn’t necessarily want to talk to him, but I hadn’t really all day, so reluctantly, I picked my phone.

    “What up?” I asked, and then grimaced. I had forgotten the “s” again, making it seem like I was trying to be totally gangsta. Crap, I thought.

    “Um, hi, Leslie,” replied my boyfriend on the other line.

    “Hi,” I said sheepishly.

    “So, I was thinking,” he began slowly, “that we should maybe go somewhere Friday night?”

    My heart sunk slightly. Phillip had a tendency to say things to me like a question, rather than a statement. It made me think that he wasn’t confident. But despite that, I answered, “What were you thinking of?”

    “Well, we could, um, go see a movie?” he said hesitantly. Another question.

    “Sure,” I said smiling. “What movie were you thinking of?”

    “I don’t care.”

    I rose to the challenge. “You sure ‘bout that?”

    There was a slight pause, before he answered, “You know, how about we go see that new movie based off that Nicolas Spark’s book. That looks like something you’d enjoy.”

    I grinned; knowing that I had “accidently” forced my boyfriend into doing something I always ended up doing: picking the movie. “Awesome,” I agreed.

    “So, 8 then?” he asked, finally needing the implied question mark.

    “8,” I verified. “Later!”

    “Later,” he said, and the line went dead.

    I replaced my phone back to where it had been resting, and looked around my room. My Jasmine Barbie doll smiled demonically at me from the top of my bookshelf. It was a Christmas present from the year before, while I played that same character in our community theatre’s production of Aladdin. Too bad the guy who played Aladdin was a total jerk-face, I thought, practically shaking in laughter as I remembered the prima donna who had played Aladdin alongside me. I finally exploded with hysterics as I remembered Princess, “Aladdin’s” pet Chihuahua, who rode around in a purple Vera Bradley case to rehearsals. Good times, good times,I thought to myself.

    My phone vibrated loudly against the wood surface of my wooden desk and scared me out of my reverie. I fumbled to grab for it and checked my messages. There, waiting to be read, was one from Madi.

    Leslie, i have to ask you something- MadisonluvsU

    What gurl?- RawrsFromMe

    Do u think im fat?- MadisonluvsU

    My heart literally stopped. I sat there, staring at my phone, completely dumbstruck before my phone vibrated again. I checked the message.

    Les? u there?- MadisonluvsU

    Yea, still here. of course i don’t!- RawrsFromMe

    Don’t lie Leslie- MadisonluvsU

    Im not lying!- RawrsFromMe

    Yes u r i can tell- MadisonluvsU

    Madi! ur a frikin twig!- RawrsFromMe

    I wish- MadisonluvsU

    ?????- RawrsFromMe

    Ive lost 10 lbs and im still fat!- MadisonluvsU

    10 lbs????? thats crazy!!!!!!- RawrsFromMe

    Thnx les call me crazy now- MadisonluvsU

    Madi dont take it that way! u need to eat something fast!- RawrsFromMe

    I did at lunch dont worry- MadisonluvsU

    Seriously!- RawrsFromMe

    What?- MadisonluvsU

    Madi how much do u weigh?- RawrsFromMe

    To much- MadisonluvsU

    U know im just gonna find out somehow…- RawrsFromMe

    Fine then i weigh 97- MadisonluvsU

    I dropped my phone in shock. 97 pounds? That’s crazy! She’s fifteen! My heart-beat sped up increasingly. It buzzed on the carpet, but for a second, I couldn’t even bend over to pick up and read the message. I snapped out of it and dived for the phone.

    Leslie? fine then u know what? fuck u bitch!- MadisonluvsU

    Chapter 4:




    My fingers wouldn’t let me reply. Madi had said that to me? My mind kept repeating those words over and over. I scrambled to think of what to do. Madi weighed 97 pounds, totally not an appropriate age for a fifteen-year-old. She must have an eating disorder, my mind blankly thought. My body led itself to my computer, then to the internet, then Google. I hastily typed in the search engine, “eating disorder hotline” and clicked search. I clicked the first result that popped up and looked at numbers that flashed onto the screen: 1-800-931-2237.

    I typed the numbers into my phone, having to do it twice because of my quivering hands, and connected the call. A woman’s voice answered on the other line.

    “Eating Disorder 24-Hour Hotline, how may I help you?”

    I swallowed the lump in my throat took a big breath.

    “Yeah, um, I think my friend has an eating disorder.”

    “Alright, now how serious do you think the situation is?”

    “Um, well, she said she ways 97 pounds...”

    “How old is your friend?”

    “Fifteen.”

    “Okay. Well, I believe you’re right; has your friend acknowledged that she has a problem?”

    “N-no. She just told me that she had lost 10 pounds, but I know she’s lost more. She also said that she hasn’t lost enough.”

    “This problem is serious enough to have an ambulance escort her to the hospital. Please give me her name and address. The ambulance will come pick you up if you give us yours too.”

    I gave the operator both our names and addresses and the address of the nearest hospital. Four and a half minutes later, the ambulance was outside my house, sirens blaring. I quickly thanked God that my parents were out on a date and weren’t there to hear the ruckus. We sped to Madi’s house waaaaaaay over the speed limit, but it was an ambulance after all.Two paramedics went into her house, and fifteen minutes later came back with a thrashing, screaming teenager. They practically had to force her into the seat in the back. She saw me and began calling me things to terrible to repeat, but it seemed like she’d watched a few R-rated films.

    We arrived at the hospital in record time, and they sped her to the emergency room. I, however, was sent to the general waiting room, where I was left to simply sit and wait. I overtook one of the hard, plastic, blue chairs close to the receptionist’s desk, nearly hidden from the front doors. A few kids played with the blocks in the center of the room, but before long their mother came and led them out. I was left all alone, which was exactly where I wanted to be. I leaned my head against the ugly grey wall beside me and let the tears itching my eyes fall freely.

    I was wallowing in pity for my dear friend, who had looked even paler than she ever had before. I cried for her fate, with the doctors poking and prodding; I cried for her parents, who, once they got back from wherever they were, would find an unpleasant message on their answering machine. And finally, I cried for no particular reason at all, just because I felt like crap.

    I barely registered the minute scrape of a chair across the tile floor as someone sat in it, and didn’t notice the sudden heat of another person sitting next to me. That is, I didn’t until said person placed their hand on my shoulder. My head whipped up and looked over at the person whom the hand belonged to. It was a boy, who looked to be about my age, with thick brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. He was pale, but not an unhealthy pale. I let my head fall back against the wall, but shrugged his hand off me.

    “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m Will.”

    There was no beating around the bush with this guy. I lifted my head laboriously back up and croaked, “Leslie.”

    He smiled sweetly, before asking, “What are you here for?”

    “My friend has an eating disorder.” I laughed humorlessly. “But after the things she said to me in the ambulance, we’re probably not friends anymore.”

    Will nodded in understanding. “Yeah, I’ve been there.”

    I looked at him confused, before he continued.

    “About a year ago I began having some pancreas issues. But, I never really did anything about it. I mean, I took my medications, but when the problems didn’t stop, I never really went back to the doctor. I just continued taking the meds. Well, my buddies on the soccer team with me finally “persuaded” me to come back to the hospital today. Ah, who am I kidding? They told me we were going to the movies with some hot girls and drove me here instead. You should have heard the things I said to them! But, they’re right. I should have been in here months ago, but here I am now.”

    I nodded, though I’m not exactly sure why, and swallowed the lump that kept forming itself in my throat. There was an awkward pause as both of us just sort of looked anywhere but each other. Finally, Will spoke again.

    “Do you think you and your friend will work it out again?”

    I shrugged my shoulders, saying, “Who knows? She was pretty pissed.”

    He placed his hand on mine, but I didn’t push it away. He rubbed reassuring circles into my hand as I looked away, refusing to cry in front of this stranger. This extremely cute stranger. For a few minutes, the only sound was that of the receptionist typing away and my sniffles, still trying not to bawl. A doctor in a white surgical coat sauntered out of the “Patients and Employees ONLY” door and glanced around the room for a moment, before walking towards Will and me. He looked at me sympathetically for a second, and then focused his attention on Will.

    “Hello, Will. We need to run some tests, but they’re just generic, so we should have the results in under an hour. Then we can get a basic idea of what we’re facing, okay?”

    “Sure,” Will replied simply, before giving my hand a small squeeze and following the doctor back the way he had entered. I was once again all alone. I decided to text Catherine, Anna, and Kelsey about the events that had just unfolded.

    Hey guyz im at the hospital w/ madi- RawrsFromMe

    The responses came almost immediately.

    What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!- Populer...Lar!

    Holy crap! Whats wrong???????- PirateseatU...HA!

    Wait our madi?- weirdanimegirl

    I decided to answer them individually.

    Yeah cathie u were right madi has an eating disorder- RawrsFromMe

    She has an eating disorder anna im scared- RawrsFromMe

    Yeah kelsey our madi has an eating disorder- RawrsFromMe

    As their replies flew in at lightning speeds, I filled them in on all that I knew. Finally, I told them I had to go, simply because I didn’t want to face the truth anymore. I was thinking back to when I was five, when nothing really bad could happen, when Will walked back into the waiting room. He sat next to me and laughed, breaking the ice.

    “Well, that sucked.”

    I looked over at him.

    “Really?” I asked.

    “Yeah. Like, a lot. It was just weird,” he explained.

    “Oh, okay.”

    And just like that, the conversation burned out just as fast as it had started. We both stared practically obsessively at the door, waiting for it to open and have someone talk to us. Will got his wish before I did, however, as, fifteen minutes later, the same doctor strode through the door once more, with a clipboard in hand. He walked exceptionally fast towards us, but this time turned to me first.

    “Miss, while I convey the results to Will, I’m afraid you’re going to have to move seats. This is to ensure privacy.”

    I stood to move seats, but Will grabbed my hand.

    “Doctor, she can stay. I don’t care.”

    The doctor nodded, and I sat back down.

    “Well, Will, I’m afraid these results don’t look very good. You see, we didn’t see this before, but you’ve had pancreas troubles in the past, and it was due to pancreatic cancer. The scans didn’t pick it up before because it was in such an early stage. However, since then, it has grown and has metastasized to your liver.”

    “Metastasized?” Will asked cautiously.

    The doctor said grimly, “It means spread. And I hate to tell you this, but your cancer has gotten so bad that we’re not going to be able to do anything about it. We have given you an estimate of six months before it will have spread to your brain. I’ll leave you now so you can fully process this.”

    And with that, the doctor spun and practically ran from the room. I turned to look at Will, only to see his face frozen with pain and sorrow. This time, it was my turn to comfort him. I put my hand on his, and, just as he had done to me, rubbed circles into his hand with my thumb. Slowly, he brought his other hand up to brush through his hair and then placed his head on his hand.

    I heard the unmistakable sniffing and knew that he was crying. Somehow, it tore me up inside and I felt the urge to give him a big hug. Feeling bold, I did just that. I wrapped my arms around his upper body, at an awkward angle due to the fact that we were sitting next to each other, and just stayed there with him. A few tears slipped from my eyes, surprisingly, for I barely knew this guy. Yet, here I was, hugging this complete stranger and letting my tears fall for him.

    Chapter 5:




    I was led into Madi’s room by a far too cheerful nurse. I had a sudden urge to backhand her, but I resisted upon seeing my friend, hooked up to tubes and machines, but still capable of flipping me off. I sat down in the chair next to her bed as she glared at me loathingly.

    “Come to brag?” she asked disgusted.

    I shook my head.

    “Then why are you here?”

    I couldn’t say anything; it was as if I had lost all powers of speech. So, instead, I took her hand and squeezed it gently. Finally, I was able to find the use of my vocal cords.

    “We’re all really worried about you, Madi. Catherine, Kelsey, Anna. I’m keeping them posted so that they don’t burn my house down trying to find out.”

    The comment made her smile, but she quickly wiped it off and replaced it with a scowl.

    “I can’t wait to get out of here,” she growled quietly. “They don’t let me do anything here! I can’t even read a magazine!”

    “They’re just worried about you,” I said gently.

    “But they won’t let me do crunches or anything! I’m gonna gain back all that weight!” Madi exclaimed, freaking out.

    I rubbed her hand. “Honey, we just want you to get better.”

    She ripped her hand away from mine. “I was fine before! How could you do this to me? I thought we were friends.”

    “We still are,” I said, my voice cracking.

    “No,” she said coldly, “we’re not. Not anymore. I fucking hate you!”

    My breath caught in my throat. True, she had already texted this to me, but hearing it directly from her was totally different.

    “I-I should leave now. I need to get back home. Bye, Madi,” I stuttered weakly.

    Just I got to the door, Madi said something that made my knees go weak and my heart flutter.

    “Fuck you, Leslie.”

    ~*~



    I walked back into the waiting room half in a trance. I had just passed through the double doors and started walking over to where Will was still sitting. Madi’s words had put me into a shock-like state. They echoed in my head, and I started to sway gently. Will saw this, and hurriedly helped me sit in the seat next to him. The cold plastic sent a shiver through me, and a sob was ripped from my lips.

    The next thing I knew, I was crying uncontrollably. Will still had his arms wrapped around me and was rocking me.

    “Ssh,” he comforted. “It’s gonna be okay.”

    I gasped for breath and tried to control my sobs, or at least make them quieter. I succeeded in the latter, but tears just kept coming. I buried my face into Will’s arm, and he continued to hold me. My head replayed every time Madi had ever said something like that. Her face glowering at me and her obscene hand gesture fuelled my tears even more. My conscience didn’t help either. She was supposed to be your best friend! It screamed at me. You’ve ruined it with her! But then I thought of Will, so selflessly comforting me when his predicament was far worse than my own. My sobs began to slow, but still I rested my head against him. He stroked my hair until I had finally calmed down enough to speak.

    “Did it not go so well?” he asked quietly.

    I shook my head.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “It’s not your fault.”

    “So? Can I not still feel sorry for you?”

    I smiled, saying, “I guess you can.”

    He was silent for a minute, before reasoning, “You feel sorry for me, even though it’s not your fault I’m cancerous.”

    “Well, yeah, but...”

    “It’s the same thing.” He cut me off.

    I giggled softly. “I guess so.”

    My breathing had gone back to normal and my tears had stopped. I shouldn’t be so close still, my mind told me, I mean, you barely know him! For one of the first times in my life, I ignored my conscience completely, and remained leaning against Will, his hand holding my head to him.

    “Do you want to go somewhere together?” he asked after a minute.

    I looked up at him. “Like, a date?”

    He smiled. “If you want.”

    I couldn’t help but grin back. “Sure.”

    In that moment, I forgot about where I was, I forgot about Madi, and, most importantly, I forgot I was in a relationship with Phillip.

    ~*~





    I found myself genuinely laughing for the first time all day. We were sitting across from each other at MacDonald’s, eating a McFlurry. Romantic, I know.

    Will continued to tease me about falling as we had walked into the building.

    “I could see you out of my peripheral vision, and you were there, but then you were just gone.”

    I laughed as he demonstrated what my face had looked like.

    “Shut up!” I said playfully. “If you had issues with gravity you’d fall a lot too!”

    “I thought you said you were a dancer!” he exclaimed.

    “Honestly, that means absolutely nothing,” I said. “Half the prima ballerinas in the world are complete klutzes.”

    Nonetheless, Will made fun of my tripping at every opportune moment. And, even though I should have been offended by his insistent teasing, I was really enjoying myself. I’ve never had this much fun with Phillip, I thought randomly. Then, right after I thought that, guess who walked in? Phillip.

    Of course, with me being utterly unobservant, or maybe it was due to the fact of the person I was with, I didn’t even notice him until he was sitting in the booth next to me.

    “Hey, sweetie pie,” he said in a sickly sweet voice that made me want to hurl up my McFlurry all over his sappy face. “Who’s this?”

    My face fell visibly, and Will understood immediately who this was.

    “This is my friend, Will. We met at the hospital,” I explained quickly.

    “But why are you guys here?” he asked.

    “Because we’re friends. I already told you that,” I answered, starting to get pissed off.

    “But why? And alone?” he replied.

    I usually have a pretty fair grasp on my temper, but maybe it was due to the fact that I my day had been pretty traumatic, or it could have been the fact that I was sick of Phillip’s crap. But, one way or another, something inside me snapped.

    “We’re here because I have had the suckiest day of my entire life! You don’t even care to ask why I was in the hospital in the first place, and you’re always so effing obsessed with yourself!” I practically screamed.

    “Are you trying to say that you’re breaking up with me?” Phillip asked offended.

    “Yes, Phillip. That is exactly what I was trying to do!” I shot back.

    “Uh, you can’t do this to me!” he retaliated. “I have a reputation to protect! We were supposed to go to the movies Friday, and if I tell my friends that we’re not, they’ll think I can’t hold down a girlfriend!”

    That did it for me. I turned to him with an icy cold stare, as I had been staring at the checkered table, and said in a faux-calm voice, “Well, then you’d better find another girl before Friday. I’m sure you can pick up some slut on the street, because I am through with you. Now, I’d like you to leave, before I punch your lights out, and you know I will,” I finished menacingly.

    Phillip made a scene of getting out of the booth before storming out of the restaurant. With a sigh, I put my head on the table. I brought it back up and looked across the table at Will, who was looking at me awkwardly.

    “I’m sorry you had to see that,” I apologized.

    He shook his head. “Nah, it’s okay. But I’m sorry you had such a jerk for your boyfriend.”

    I laughed a little. “Yeah, me too.”

    We both laughed uncomfortably, as I found a sudden interest in my thumb.

    “You know, if I was with someone like you, I’d treat you loads better than that guy,” Will said genuinely.

    That caught my attention.

    “Yeah?”

    “Mm-hmm. I mean, you’re nice, funny, really pretty... Um,” he trailed off, blushing slightly, and stared intently at the table. I smiled at him.

    “I’m quite certain you would be.”

    This time it was his turn to look back up. He smiled, and his eyes practically lit up. His really pretty eyes...

    Chapter 6:



    I went back to school the next day with a heavy heart. As I was taking my script out of my locker where I had left it the previous day, Cathie and Anna came over to me. Both of them had dark circles under their eyes that mimicked mine. They didn’t say anything, and instead just walked to rehearsal with me. We sat in the front row of seats in the auditorium and waited for Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Carpenter to walk in. Joining us moments later was Kelsey.

    Before any of us had a chance to say anything, our teachers walked onstage with their usual bright and happy faces. It was an ironic contrast to ours that stared at them with glazed eyes. Mrs. Bradley clapped her hands loudly to awaken anyone sleeping in the back row.

    “Alright,” she said in a demanding voice. “Today we’ll be rehearsing ‘The Circle of Life,’ so everyone onstage.”

    We sluggishly climbed the stairs and made our way to center stage, Kelsey stepping forward as this was her song. The rest of the cast filed in and took their places, and the soundtrack began to play. On cue, we started singing the background Swahili lyrics, but none of my friends had any of our usual sparkle. Kelsey began to sing, but it was labored, and on the chorus, her voice cracked, something that never happened. Mrs. Bradley stopped the music and looked questioningly at her. Mr. Carpenter joined her onstage from where he was seated in the audience.

    Finally, uneasy from where our teachers gazed curiously at her, she squeaked out, “I’m sorry,” before running into the wings and backstage. After a moment’s hesitation and a few convincing glances from Cathie and Anna, I chased after her. I could hear my teachers calling after us, but I was blinded by the tears that had sprung into my eyes. I found Kelsey sitting on the floor in the prop and costume room. I slid down the wall until I was right next to her, and put my arms around. We sat there all through first period, and would have for second if Cathie hadn’t found us and brought our things. We trumped reluctantly to second period, parting with Kelsey halfway down the hallway as I ducked into Mrs. Roop’s geometry.

    Neither Anna nor I could focus in geometry. We were having a test in two days, but we both knew that were going to fail it anyway. There was no way we could pass with Madi’s empty seat looming in our peripherals. I tried in vain to pay attention to the figures in front of me, but pictures of Madi hooked up to all those machines kept clouding my thought. Finally, I just stopped trying to even look at my book and solve my problems. I looked up at the clock, and saw that we had four minutes until the period was over. I looked at my paper and just blanked out until the bell rang and I jumbled my stuff into my bag and left the classroom.

    ~*~




    As soon as I got off the bus at Cathie’s, I hopped into Mom’s car, where she dropped me off at the hospital. I strode in toward the receptionist, signed in, and made my way to the ICU ward. The nurse inside smiled at me and brought me a folding chair. I set it up next to Madi’s bed and took her hand. She opened her eyes at the contact, and kept it there for a second before she realized who it was. Then, she ripped her hand away from my grasp and turned her back to me. Despite that gesture, I went on with my plan.

    I proceeded to tell her everything that she had missed today, from rehearsal this morning to Mrs. Gordan giving us another free day. She stiffened when I talked about how much we all missed her, but said nothing. I had finished, and sat there waiting for her to say something, anything. But not a word slipped from her lips, even though I could tell by her breathing that she wasn’t asleep. Finally, I whispered a goodbye and left to process this cold-shoulder treatment I was receiving.

    I had told my mom to pick me up at 5:30, and it was hardly 4:15, so I took a seat in that familiar corner and waited for my ride. I watched the different patients walking in and out. I saw a toddler with a cast, a frantic mom, a crazy old dude that kept asking me if I was a virgin, and a guy who kept sucking his thumb. I was still feeling pretty weird after the old geezer incident when Will walked out of the doctor/patient door. He spotted me, and galloped over. He sat next to me and looked over at me with a goofy grin on his face. I knew something was up, so I asked, “Dude, what’s your problem?”

    “I just saw my doctor,” he began. I must have tensed visibly, because he added, “No, this is good news!” I relaxed instantly. He continued, “They had a specialist analyze the results today, and they’ve estimated another three months for me! I’ve gone from six to nine!”

    My whole face lit up at the news. “Are you serious?!?!”

    He nodded crazily, and I made a slight squeal. He squeezed me into a bone-crushing hug, and I would have laughed, except for the fact that I couldn’t breathe. He released me, and I panted for breath once more. I was so overjoyed that I completely forgot about Madi and was only capable of being happy for Will. Until five minutes later, that is, when one of Madi’s nurses came down to see me.

    “She’s asking for you,” the nurse said. I bade Will goodbye and set back up to ICU.

    Madi was sitting up in bed, her face a bit flushed, the tubes still connected to her left arm. At the sight of me, her eyes lit up, but her face remained stony. I sat back down in the chair I had occupied before, and waited for her to say something. Finally, she looked my direction, but refused to look me in the eyes.

    “Leslie, I…” she trailed off.

    “It’s okay,” I assured.

    “I… really… miss you guys. Especially… you,” she said with difficulty.

    “I’ve missed you too,” I said. “I’m probably going to fail the geometry test with your empty desk next to me.”

    “You? Fail? Are you kidding me?” she asked, shocked.

    “No, I’m serious, I probably am going to fail it, and yet… I can’t bring myself to care with you in here.”

    Madi’s eyes welled with tears. “I hate it here! They won’t let me text or even call anybody! You’re the only one I’ve talked to. I’m really set off from the world.”

    “Your parents haven’t visited you?” I asked amazed.

    “They don’t count.”

    I suppressed my laughter and instead just basked in the fact that she was being completely vulnerable with me.

    “Why don’t I bring you some things tomorrow?” I reasoned.

    “Like what?” she asked.

    “Well, I’ll see what I can bring without getting shot, okay? But I promise that it will be enough to keep you entertained, at least a little bit.” I said with a smile.

    “Okay,” she laughed.

    It was almost 5:25, so I gave Madi a hug, almost disconnecting her tube by accident, and left the room, pulling the nurse with me. Once outside, I turned to the nurse.

    “Hey, Madi’s staring to get really restless in there. I’d like to bring her something to read, but I don’t want to get in trouble.”

    The nurse smiled kindly at me. I really appreciate wanting to help her. Um, basically any novel is alright, but try to not get one about her situation, if at all possible. Other than that though, you have free range, but we do ask that you do not bring any magazines.”

    “Will do,” I replied, thankful that there weren’t too many rules I had to follow.

    I showed up the next day carrying a tote bag, filled with books. Included were The Phantom of the Opera, Twilight, The sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and many others. I literally dumped them onto her confused figure and sat, waiting for her reaction. I didn’t have long to wait, as she squealed, grabbed the first book, and opened it up to the first page, shutting out the world.
    avatar
    BroadwayB

    Posts : 23
    Points : 29
    Join date : 2010-06-19
    Age : 23

    Part 2:

    Post by BroadwayB on Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:15 pm

    Chapter 7:



    “Did you see that James was wearing green today?” Kelsey asked one Wednesday. It had been exactly four months and three days since I had turned Madi in, and she was ready to come back to school the next day. That left the four of us ecstatic. I stared at her as we made our way to fourth period: concert choir. With Mr. Carpenter. Kelsey insisted on calling him by his first name, even though all the teachers called him by his nickname, Drew, instead of Andrew. According to Kelsey, James Andrew Carpenter was simply perfect for Kelsey Jameson Jeffers.

    “No, I wasn’t staring at him the whole time,” I jabbed back playfully.

    “You just wish this Will guy was as perfect as him,” she said, flouncing ahead of me. I had to jog to catch back up with her.

    “You’re nuts,” I said, just as we entered the chorus room. We put our stuff down and grabbed our folders, making our way to the risers. However, I tripped over God knows what and splatted on my face in front of the entire class. Despite everyone’s laughter, I picked myself off the floor and continued on my way, pretending that nothing had happened. Krista’s face was bright red with her suppressed giggles. I childishly stuck my tongue out at her from across the room. Before she could retaliate, Mr. Carpenter walked into the room.

    “Alright,” he began. “Before we start class, I have something to ask of you all. Will whoever keeps leaving roses with black ribbon tied around them please stop? I’ve been asking that of all my classes, so it’s not just you guys.”

    Although he tacked on that last sentence, he was looking directly at Kelsey for the first part, and her ears turned bright red. I rolled my eyes, and then focused on what we were learning.

    After class, Kelsey caught up with me.

    “How did he know that was me?” she asked. “I never left my name on them.”

    I put my hand on her shoulder, saying, “Honey, you’re pretty obvious.”

    Kelsey sighed. “I guess you’re right, but now I’m just going to have to find another way to show my affection for him!” And with that, she skipped merrily to her next class.

    ~*~



    I was dropping my books off in my locker before lunch, grabbing my crap for Mrs. Gordon’s class after. Why do I even bother? I asked myself. We haven’t used our books once. After some debate, I grabbed it anyway, just in case. I slammed my door shut, only to find Kelsey with the deer-in-the-headlights look beside me.

    “Oh, Leslie! I am in a world of trouble! I think I like Kate, but I love Mr. Carpenter. Oh my God, I’M BECOMING A WHORE!” she scream-whispered.

    It took me a second to comprehend, and I took her hand.

    “Girl, it’s okay! Lots of people have liked two people at once,” I reassured calmly.

    “Like who?” she asked, not believing me.

    “Well, I liked Phillip and Will at the same time.”

    “Yeah, but Phillip’s not a girl!” she exclaimed, and then paused. “On second thought, yeah, he is. I guess you’re right. But,” she stopped again. “I’m not ready for the world to know that I’m a Scottish Jewish Princess, capiche?”

    I smiled. “Scottish Jewish Princess” was a musical reference. It was from Rooms: a Rock Romance where that particular song was about being bi.

    “Well, do you at least want to tell the others?”

    She thought for a second, before deciding, “I’ll tell them at your sleepover Saturday night.”

    I nodded, thinking about how everyone would flip, but be entirely supportive. Kelsey and I strode, well, I strode and Kelsey skipped, to lunch together.

    ~*~



    “Okay, spill the secret,” I said, looking at Kelsey, who occupied the sleeping bag next to me. She looked up from the popcorn she was devouring with wide, fear-filled eyes. I nodded an encourage-filled nod her way. She took a deep breath before looking out at the rest of us.

    “I like Kate,” she said in a voice barely above a whisper. Shock was written on Madi, Cathie, and Anna’s faces, but they were quickly replaced by grins. Anna and Cathie swiftly tackled her into a hug, and I joined them in smothering Kelsey with love. Madi remained on her sleeping bag, a look of disgust painted on her face.

    “Night girls,” Madi said all of a sudden. We all looked up surprised. Anna looked at her watch, Draco. She stared at her with a peculiar expression on her face, as if Madi had suddenly sprouted a third eye.

    “Madison, it’s eleven. Hardly late,” she protested. Anna only calls people by their full names if she thinks something’s wrong. And trying to go to sleep at eleven at a sleepover is definitely not normal.

    “I’m just tired, Anna. God, no need to be such a bitch about it,” she snapped back. Anna retreated like a turtle in its shell. I rolled my eyes and shot her an annoyed look.

    “Don’t snap at her ‘cause you’re mad at me. I just wanted to help.”

    Nonetheless, Madi proceeded to lie down in her sleeping bag and refused to say a word to us the rest of the night. The rest of us talked considerably quieter so as to not disturb her, even though we thought she was off her rocker.
    ~*~




    When we woke up the next morning, we were careful not to wake Madi up. The official breakfast tally ordered pancakes, so we trouped upstairs, still in our pajamas, and started flipping. The smell wafted through the house, causing all of our stomachs to growl hungrily. Once the pancakes were ready, I divided them onto the five plates in front of me, and doused them all in a “healthy” amount of syrup, except one plate, where I barely sprinkled any on. I sent Kelsey downstairs with that plate, my logic being that Kelsey was the one Madi was least likely to throw something heavy at.

    We were all sitting demolishing our pancakes when Madi wandered up the stairs. She was holding the plate, still full of the delicious, fluffy cakes.

    “Anyone want some?” she asked nonchalantly. No one replied, but we all watched as she scraped them into the garbage. She walked to the fridge and got out an apple. She cut it in half, and peeled the skin off it.

    “You’re killing yourself, Madi,” I heard myself say. She ignored me, and continued to peel her apple. I repeated myself, and she finally looked up from her fruit, anger flashing in her eyes.

    “No, I’m not. I’m eating! I’m not committing suicide or anything!” she exclaimed, before slipping one of the peeled slices into her mouth. The rest followed her pancakes into the garbage can. I stared at her, worry lining my features. Her face contorted slightly until she was screaming, “Well, if you are NOT going to help me, then I’m LEAVING YOU! I’M LEAVING ALL OF YOU! JUST STAY AWAY FROM ME! I DON’T CARE, ANNA! JUST STAY AWAY!” And with that, she grabbed her purse and stormed out of my house, slamming the door.

    We were all in shock. Cathie, Anna, and I just stared at each other, and Kelsey had a forkful of food halfway to her mouth, frozen in mid-air. The bite fell to her plate with a slight plop! but we still continued just staying there, almost comically frozen. Finally, I cleared my throat, before saying for all of us, “I sure hope she’s gonna be okay.”



    Chapter 8:



    “Okay, let me get this straight. You want me to come to your house right now to help you pick out an outfit for your first official date, when you usually ignore every comment I make about your fashion sense and say, ‘Hey, I’m an original gal.’?”

    “Pretty much,” I replied.

    “Be there in three,” Cathie said. I could hear the devilish delight in her voice, even over the phone. I hung up and walked upstairs, knowing she’d be here in less than three. I was right, as her mom’s car pulled into my driveway in two minutes. She leaped out of the car and frantically told her mom that she’d be done in half an hour. We sprinted down the stairs and shut my door.

    Cathie immediately ran to my closet and started rifling through my clothes, which was pretty unnecessary, considering she knows everything that I own. She pulled one of my girlier shirts, not too girly of course, and grabbed a matching cami from my drawer. Then she dug through my other drawers until she found my semi-skinny jeans and grabbed my high-tops from under my desk. With a gesture from her, I put on everything she had gotten out.

    I was pushed into my desk chair as she went to work. I could feel her frigid hands fixing my hair, applying makeup and putting in earrings. Roughly ten minutes later, I was finished. I looked in the mirror, Cathie peering over my shoulder. I looked pretty good, compared to my usual style. I still had fifteen minutes, so we sat together on my bed and just talked. Cathie asked me about everything, from tonight’s date, to what Will looked like. She laughed out loud when I told her what movie we were seeing: Toy Story 3.

    “Shut up!” I laughed.

    “I just can’t help it! It’s so romantic!” she laughed sarcastically.

    “There are so many words I want to call you right now...” I said jokingly.

    “None of which appropriate for this conversation,” Cathie finished for me.

    It was time for me to go, but I promised Cathie on my life that I would tell her every detail.

    ~*~



    Hey gurl!- LifeIsGood

    Lol, i can c from ur sig that it went good!- Populer...Lar

    Yeah it was great!- LifeIsGood

    Not enuff detail there. :-) – Populer...Lar

    Ok well we saw the movie (it was good btw)- LifeIsGood

    Wow u suck at this- Populer...Lar

    Shut up! im just happy!- Life Is Good

    Ok take ur time- Populer...Lar

    Ok so anyway we saw the movie (ask away gurl)- LifeIsGood

    Lol u rele know me! ok did u hold hands- Populer...Lar

    Maybe... yes- LifeIsGood

    Aw! any smooching happen?- Populer...Lar

    Cathie!- LifeIsGood

    Wat?- Populer...Lar

    No cathie. no smooching- LifeIsGood

    Dang! u sure?- Populer...Lar

    How can i NOT b sure?- LifeIsGood

    Maybe u forgot!- Populer...Lar

    Ur nuts- LifeIsGood

    Ikr!- Populer...Lar

    Anyway i have 2 txt A, K, and M still. g2g l8r!- LifeIsGood

    Until tomorrow!- Populer...Lar

    ~*~




    Rehearsal the next morning was finally amazing again. Madi was back and everyone was overjoyed. We were doing a run-through, so we were allowed to miss our first and second periods. It went by smoothly. Krista hit all of her high notes, I was finally able to act again instead of just freak out, and we made a bunch of inside jokes. For instance, in “Shadowland,” I had just sung how the leaves had fallen, when I tripped and fell myself. The whole company burst into laughter, and now whenever I fall, someone says, “Well, it looks like the leaves aren’t the only thing falling right now!” Good times...

    Anyway, the run-through had just finished, and I was getting my stuff for Ancient History with Madi, when I saw her by her locker with Sarah Beth and Kate. Worried, I quickly shut mine and went over to her. I was almost there when I heard the three of them laughing. I paused behind them to listen in.

    “That’s so crazy! I think you get another brownie point for that one!”

    I rolled my eyes. Brownie points were Sarah Beth’s way of rewarding people for giving her juicy pieces of gossip.

    “Wait, I have one worth at least five brownie points,” I heard Madi say.

    “Spill!” Sarah Beth and Kate said in unison.

    “First of all, it involves you, Kate,” she added.

    “Me?” Kate asked, confused.

    “Yeah, you see, you know that Kelsey girl?” Madi asked.

    “Yeah,” they said together again.

    “Well,” Madi started. “She’s bi, and she likes you, Kate.”

    My eyes widened. I couldn’t believe she had told her! Apparently I wasn’t the only surprised one.

    “That little lesbo!” exclaimed Sarah Beth. “Ugh, that’s disgusting!”

    “I know,” Madi said.

    “We can’t let this go on! Come on Kate, let’s think of a plan.”

    And then it was just Madi and me. I came out from behind her and got in her face.

    “What the hell, Madi! Why’d you tell them?” I screamed.

    “Best friends always tell each other things,” Madi said coldly. “You kept trying to boss me around, making me do things I didn’t want to. Sarah Beth and Kate care about my feelings. They don’t meddle in my affairs.”

    I looked at the outfit she was wearing. It was a tight fitting shirt, and I could see several of her ribs.

    “Oh my God, Madi.” I said softly.

    “I have to go now. I need to help my friends make that little bitch pay.”

    I grabbed her arm, stopping her.

    “That little bitch? Who are you, Madi? This isn’t who you really are!”

    “Oh, and you would know,” she said disgusted. “You can’t even hold down a boyfriend. How can you know who I am better than me?”

    She got out of my grasp and stormed down the hallway. I have to find Kelsey! I thought panic stricken. I rushed to her locker, only to find that Sarah Beth and Kate had beaten me, Madi not far behind. They were screaming obscene things as they advanced on her. Sarah Beth pulled back her fist and punched Kelsey in the nose. Kate followed her example, except aimed for her mouth. Madi followed suit. Before I knew it, all three girls were punching and kicking.

    Adrenaline coursed through my veins, and I threw myself at Sarah Beth. I pulled her off of Kelsey, taking the punches, not with ease, but I didn’t let them stop me either. I started fighting back, trying to get closer to my dear friend. I punched and scratched and kicked both Sarah Beth and Kate, but I refused to hurt Madi. In fact, there wasn’t any need to. Once Madi saw me getting into the fight, she slowly backed off and tore down the hallway. It was me against Sarah Beth and Kate... until Kelsey got up and helped.

    Mr. Carpenter came pushing through the crowd shouting “FIGHT!” and shouted for us to stop. That stopped me and Kelsey, but we continued to be killed, so we had to keep fighting until he and Mrs. Bradley pulled each other apart. Mrs. Bradley had Kate and me; Mr. Carpenter had Kelsey and Sarah Beth. Kelsey was pretty bloodied up; she had a broken nose, a busted lip, and would be covered in bruises later on. I felt absolutely ashamed as we were led to the principal’s office by my two favorite teachers. I was close to tears, but I refused to let any fall to further humiliate myself. How did all this happen?

    Chapter 9:




    I sat frozen in the chair Mrs. Bradley had pushed me to. I felt chilled, with the principals staring at us, and I wrapped my arms around myself. Two of the three were watching me, as were both of the chorus teachers. I wanted to say anything to break the painful silence, but my voice was somewhere else, far, far away. I could only sit and stare back at them with frightened eyes. Finally, Mr. Carpenter spoke.

    “Leslie, I don’t understand. Why would you get in a fight?”

    I summoned my voice from where it was residing and replied, “I was protecting my best friend.”

    Kelsey looked over at me and smiled weakly. Mrs. Bradley looked confused.

    “Protecting her from what?” she asked.

    I took a deep breath, and then began.

    “Sarah Beth and Kate were beating her up because of a secret they were never meant to know.” I said quickly.

    “What secret?” she asked.

    I sat there quietly, practically petrified.

    “Leslie, what secret?” she asked again.

    “It’s not necessary for this conversation,” I said frantically.

    “Leslie, if this concerns the fight that has just occurred, it is necessary,” Mr. Carpenter insisted.

    I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing for a moment. Then, I looked over at Kelsey, asking her the fatal question in my eyes. After a pause, she nodded, and I turned back to the teachers.

    “Kelsey confided in me that she liked someone, and it upset Sarah Beth and Kate.”

    “How did they find out?”

    I paused again. Not wanting to get Madi in trouble, I concocted something in my mind.

    “They must have overheard us originally,” I reasoned.

    “You liar!” Sarah Beth exclaimed. “We never overheard anything. We were told!

    “By who?” asked Mr. Owen, one of the principals.

    “Madi Montoya,” Kate said with ease. My heart sunk to my stomach. Now Madi was just as involved in this as I was.

    “Is this true?” Mr. Carpenter asked me.

    I nodded, trying not to cry.

    “You realize,” Mr. Owen said, “that it is a county wide policy that states that students involved in violence must be punished with suspension?”

    Kelsey and I bowed our heads, but nodded our comprehension.

    “I would say three days is fair enough. Don’t bother coming to school tomorrow,” he said unkindly. We all stood and made our way to our classes, Sarah Beth and Kate speeding along unscathed, but Kelsey and I trudging along. Mr. Carpenter and Mrs. Bradley stepped in front of us.

    “We want to see you in our office in five minutes. We’ll write you a pass excusing you.” We nodded together and made our way down to the chorus room. We sat in two chairs there and waited for our teachers to arrive. I could hear Kelsey sniffling beside me. I pursed my lips to prevent any sound from coming out, but a few tears slipped from my eyes. So much for that perfect record, I thought. We were crying softly when our teachers entered the room. They sat in front of us, and waited for us to look at them. We still hadn’t looked at them for at least three minutes.

    “Guys, come on now,” Mrs. Bradley said sharply.

    I whipped my head up to see two annoyed faces. Something in me stirred slightly, but I ignored it.

    “Seriously, Kelsey, you too,” she said with that same tone of voice. She slowly brought her head back up, and I could see the tear stains formed.

    “Now, you guys were in this incident just as much as those other girls and I am very disappointed in you. Especially you, Leslie”

    Anger flared up in me, as it had during the fight. I glared at the teachers I loved and respected across from me, as Kelsey’s sob fueled my fire. A snap was felt inside me as I tried to hide my anger and I exploded.

    “I realize that you may be disappointed, but I believe it was you Mrs. Bradley, that told us to stand up for what we believe in. Well, I do not believe in seeing my friends being beaten up, and I’m sorry if that isn’t what you wanted! I’m sorry I disappointed you, and I’m sorry that I believed you when you told us that. Come on, Kelsey. Let’s go.”

    I stood up and took Kelsey’s hand and began to leave the office. Mr. Carpenter’s call of, “Come back here right now!” stopped me, but only caused me to turn around and reply, “Why? So you and Mrs. Bradley can talk about how disappointed you guys are in us? I don’t think so.” We turned together, holding back tears, and walked to our spots on the risers, as it was already class change.

    ~*~



    Chorus was agony today. Mr. Carpenter was obviously pissed, but I didn’t care. I was proud of myself for standing up to him, and was only genuinely sad for a second when I realized that the respect I had held for both of them was gone. That shook me for a second, but I composed myself and continued to sing. He tried to get mine and Kelsey’s attention as we left, but neither of us would grant it to him.

    Kelsey turned to me outside the chorus room and whispered, “It hurts me to see them like that.”

    I smiled humorlessly. “Me too, sister. Me too.”



    Chapter 10:



    I racked my brain for the answers as the time ticked on. Crap, I thought. I don’t know half of this! I bubbled in a few random answers before the small bell rang out, marking the end of our Ancient History final. I reluctantly handed in my answer sheet and packet, giving a small, silent prayer just before. I let out a small sigh and made chocking motions toward Anna, who was two rows over. She laughed and nodded eagerly. We were finally dismissed, and we ran off to find our friends.

    Catherine and Kelsey were outside already, Kelsey sitting on the grass, Cathie on her backpack. We sidled over and collapsed next to them.

    “Are you completely dead from that exam?” Cathie asked.

    I uttered a dramatic groan from where I had my face buried into my purse. She laughed, as did the other two. All of a sudden, we heard more familiar, cold laughter. I looked up to see Sarah Beth, looking cruel as ever, Kate, looking exactly as Sarah Beth looked as ever, and Madi, looking even thinner than I thought possible, even under her sweat-shirt. They strutted over to where they always sat, after forcing several nerds pouring over geometry books away. I look of disgust found its way to my face.

    “Leslie,” Cathie began, seeing my face. “This is the last day of freshman year, besides the play next week. Would you please try to not cause a scene?”

    Before I could summon the courage to do anything to them, despite Cathie’s words, the bell rang, rushing us to the last exam of the year. I trooped off the Language Arts final, with the others right behind me. This one was much easier than the Ancient History one, and I was finished with five minutes to spare. I spent this time making a mental checklist of the things I needed to do in the hour before school was let out. I needed to: finish emptying my locker, say good-bye to Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Carpenter (despite the incident from a few weeks ago), figure out what time rehearsal was tomorrow...

    The timer went off, yanking me out of my industrial thinking session. I gave the teacher my papers, and hurried to my locker. On my way, however, I was stopped by seeing Madi, who was alone at her locker. I pushed through the crowd until I was right in front of her.

    “Madi...” I began, not knowing what to say.

    She glanced up at me, but I could tell something was entirely wrong. Her eyes were blank, no recognition of who I was evident. She started to sway, and steadied herself against the lockers next to her. She gasped for breath, sounding as if she were hyperventilating.

    “Madi, what’s wrong? What’s wrong?” I frantically asked, looking her straight in the eyes, watching as they lit up, before fading again. I took a good, long look at her face before she supported herself against the water fountain. Her cheek bones were so prominent, her hair lank and limp. The skin was stretched so tightly across her face and hands. One arm of her sweat-shirt was pushed up to the elbow, and her forearm was so skinny, it looked as if it would snap if touched it. Then, before I could say or do anything, she dropped to the ground, smashing against the water fountain on her way down. I stood in shock for a moment before I yanked one of my friends from the crowd, ordered her to be sure Madi kept breathing, and sprinted to the chorus room.

    My mind raced and my breathing crept to hysteria. I flung myself into the chorus room and babbled frantically, before finally forcing out that Madi was really hurt. Mr. Carpenter followed me as I ran as fast as I had ever gone, and Mrs. Bradley called an ambulance. We arrived just as a large group was forming around the scene. I shoved and elbowed my way through them, and dropped next to her, tears forming rapidly.

    I stared at her hopelessly, and before I knew it, paramedics were moving me. I heard someone screaming, begging her to let her be next to her best friend. I realized once I felt Mrs. Bradley holding me back as I struggled that the girl was me. I stopped screaming, but the sobs continued to rip out of my lungs, as if someone was forcing them out of me, quite brutally by the sounds of it. The men strapped my bestie to a stretcher before rushing back to the ambulance. The halls cleared unbelievably fast, unless my sense of time was jacked up, and it was just me, Cathie, Anna, Kelsey, and Mrs. Bradley.

    ~*~



    I sat numbly in a rolling office chair in the chorus room, my hair falling into my face. In a normal situation, this would have driven me to insanity, but now? Not so much. I had mostly calmed down, but a few sobs still racked through me, more spread apart then before. My friends sat around me, all except Kelsey, who was drowning in her tears in the bathroom, wanting to be alone. Mrs. Bradley stayed on the phone with Mr. Carpenter, who was at the hospital with Madi.

    I watched her through the windows to her office. Her face was grim, and she kept running her hands through her previously perfect hair. At one point she bit her lip as a hopeless look crossed her face. At this, my heart sunk to the floor and was crushed by a frikin elephant. Feeling utterly pathetic, I laid my head in my arms and started sobbing uncontrollably. I barely registered the fact that several arms were around me and that Mrs. Bradley had left her office.

    After what seemed like an eternity, I looked up, still sniffling to see Mrs. Bradley sitting right in front of me, still holding her iPhone. She licked her lips, then looked at us with tear-filled eyes.

    “That was Mr. Carpenter. He’s at the hospital, and although he’s not allowed into her room right now, a doctor told him that Madi’s really not looking good. In fact,” she paused, as her voice broke. She cleared it and continued. “They said she might not make it through.”

    My insides chilled. Goosebumps erupted onto my skin. My eyes welled up and my stomach clenched. For a moment, I felt as if I would throw up. Instead, I just screamed, “Fuck!” before running from the room, bawling. I found myself in the bathroom here I could hear Kelsey sniffing. I entered the handicapped stall where she was sitting on the toilet with the lid closed. Her head shot up when she heard me.

    “Have we heard anything?” she asked, practically begging for information.

    I leaned against the wall, not caring how unsanitary it was, before nodding solemnly.

    “Well?” she asked impatiently.

    I took in a big breath before saying, “She’s not looking good, and we’re probably gonna lose her!” I then burst into tears again.

    I heard Kelsey breathing heavily before making a strangled moan. Both ours tears fell freely and our cries pierced the silence. She stood up and gave me a gigantic, bone crushing hug that I returned with enthusiasm, painful enthusiasm. We slowly looked at each other and, thinking the same thing, made our way back to the chorus room, being slowly disgusted by our surroundings. Once there, I simply lied down on the carpet and close my eyes. A song crept into my head and I began to sing softly, mournfully.



    “If I die young, burry me in satin,
    lay me down on a bed of roses,
    sink me in the river at dawn,
    send me away with the words of a love song,
    oh oh oh oh

    Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother.
    She knows I'm safe with you and she stands under my colors.
    Oh, and life ain’t always what you think it ought to be,

    No, it ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby.
    The sharp knife of a short life...
    Well I've had just enough time...

    If I die young, burry me satin,
    lay me down on a bed of roses,
    sink me in the river at dawn,
    send me away with the words of a love song.
    The sharp knife of a short life...
    Well, I have just enough time...

    And I'll be wearing white
    when I come into your kingdom.
    I'm as green as the ring on my little cold finger.
    Well, I've never known the lovin’ of man,
    but it sure felt nice when he was holdin’ my hand.
    There's a boy here in town
    who says he'll love me forever.
    Who would have thought forever could be severed
    by a sharp knife of a short life?
    Well, I've had just enough time...

    So put on your best boys, and I'll wear my pearls.
    What I never did is done.
    A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I'll sell em’ for a dollar.
    They’re worth so much more after I'm a goner,
    and maybe then you'll hear the words that I've been singin'.
    It’s funny when you’re dead how people start listenin'...




    If I die young, burry me in satin,
    lay me down on a bed of roses,
    sink me in the river at dawn,
    send me away with the words of a love song.
    Oh oh, the ballad of a dove...
    Go with peace and love...
    Gather up your tears and keep them in your pocket.
    Save em’ for a time when your really gonna need em’.
    Oh, the sharp knife of a short life...
    Well I've had just enough time...
    So put on your best boys, and I'll wear my pearls...”



    Chapter 11:



    “And I’m still not allowed to see her!”

    I had just told Will the whole story, from Madi storming out of my house, to hearing that she was just as good as dead. My eyes were sore from crying, even though no tears were in them now. Will looked at me sympathetically, looking a lot paler than I was used to. He had dark, bag-like circles under his eyes that stood out against the white of his face. He was thinner too; though not the skinniest I had ever seen anyone...

    I also was looking pretty different. Not drastically, but I had lost a little weight since the “Madi Affair,” as it was known around Facebook and texts. My hair had lost some of its sheen, and I didn’t smile nearly as often as before, mostly out of worry for my friend. I sat in the cold, plastic chair; a feeling of déjà vu washing over me. I wearily closed my eyes and lay my head on Will’s shoulder, feeling trapped inside my own body.

    He laced his arm around my waist, keeping it there reassuringly. I thought of the times Phillip had done that, compared to now. I opened my mouth to say something when a nurse strolled out of the patient door. She waltzed to the receptionist, grabbing some papers before making her way once more to the door.

    “Wait, nurse!” I called out. She turned and changed her route to me.

    “Yes, can I help you?” she asked.

    “Have you heard any news about Madi Montoya?” I asked hesitantly.

    “Madi Montoya?” she repeated, before looking at a clipboard she was clutching. “Oh, yes, Madison. She’s in intensive care right now, but it’s really not looking good. She doesn’t have much of a chance surviving this time. If you’ll excuse me.”

    She bustled away, leaving me shell-shocked and gaping. I closed my open mouth and bit my lip, feeling the tears coming again. I leaned back in my chair and put my head against the wall behind me. I sat there for an immeasurable time, hearing the hospital doors opening and shutting, the receptionist answer phone calls, Will confirming when his appointment was. Breathing alone seemed like such a difficult task that required full thought to each inhale and every exhale.

    After some time, Will got up and left to go to his appointment, leaving me alone in the waiting room. I slowly brought my head up and opened my eyes. Across the room from me was a mother with two kids, a boy and a girl. She looked down lovingly at her kids who were playing with each other, building a castle out of the blocks. She glanced down at her watch, chewed on her bottom lip, and looked back at her kids. I could see the gears turning in her head as she stared at them, a look of pure concentration on her.

    I soon realized her dilemma, or at least what I could guess it was. I assumed her had to see the doctors, but she couldn’t bring her kids into the room with her, and she had nowhere for them to go. After a moment’s hesitation, I stood up and walked over until I was sitting next to her. She looked at me curiously, as if trying to figure out why I had moved. I cleared my throat, knowing it would be croak-y.

    “I can watch your kids while you see your doctor. I’m going to be here for a long time anyway,” I said in a calm voice.

    She looked at me as if I were a rainbow on a stormy day.

    “Are you sure? Because, I mean, they can be kind of a handful sometimes.”

    “I’m sure it’ll be fine. I love kids.” I assured her with a small smile.

    “Oh, thank you so much. My name’s Victoria, by the way. See, I recently broke my ankle, so I’m getting my cast off today, and I really don’t want the kids in there, dying of boredom, you know?”

    I nodded before turning my attention to her children.

    “The girl’s name is Holly, and the boy is David,” Victoria informed me. Just then, a doctor strolled in and looked at her questioningly.

    “Victoria Floyd?” he asked.

    “That’s me,” she said to both me and the doctor before she grabbed her crutches and made her way out of the waiting room. Holly noticed her mother’s disappearance immediately, and looked at me with worry lining her small face.

    “Where’s Mommy?” she asked, a small lisp lining her words.

    “She’s with the doctor right now. They’re taking off her cast,” I explained.

    “Oh,” she returned to her masterpiece for a second, and then looked back at me. “Who are you?”

    “I’m Leslie.”

    “Leslie,” Holly said, her lisp appearing pretty strong this time.

    “How old are you, Holly?” I asked, genuinely curious. I didn’t expect what happened next. Holly got up from where she was sitting with her brother and walked over to me. She climbed into my lap, and then proceeded to tell me everything about her, from her age to how she thought ponies were nice, but how cows were icky. She talked with me the whole time her mom was gone, while David remained fixed at the block table.

    Victoria walked out of the door, crutches in hand, a bit uneven on her legs. She looked over, smiling, and sat next to where Holly and I were. At the sight of his mom, David leaped up from his position on the floor and scrambled clumsily to sit in her lap. He snuggled his head into her neck, and she smiled, kissing the top of his head. Holly babbled for a while longer while Victoria and I had a lip-read conversation, pretty slowly, considering the fact that I can’t lip-read to save my life. Finally, I cut into Holly’s jabber in between topics, saying, “Okay, Holly, This has been really fun, but I think you guys are leaving.”

    She looked toward her mom, whom she had just noticed, and a pout took over her face.

    “But Leslie, I want to stay with you!”

    I smiled softly at the adorable girl sitting on me.

    “Well, maybe I can give your mommy my phone number and we can schedule a play-date together,” I suggested, looking at Victoria. Content, Holly slid off of me and waited patiently next to her mom. I wrote my phone number on a scrap of paper and handed it to them, waving at the kids as they followed their mother out of the hospital.

    ~*~



    I was still sitting in the chair parallel to where I always sat, so when Will walked out of the door, a goofy grin on his face, he didn’t see me. He sat down and looked right toward me. Then, he got up and moved to sit next to me.

    “Hey,” he said, his smile evident even in his voice.

    “Good news?” I asked.

    “Only the best!” he exclaimed before throwing himself at me, practically cutting off my oxygen glow and breaking my ribs. At least I’m in a hospital, I thought, laughing to myself. He drew back and looked me in the eyes. “The doctors think my cancer has finally stopped spreading. I have a high chance of survival now!”

    Tears rose in my eyes, I was so happy. I grinned my widest and gave him a big hug, nearly breaking his ribs, as he informed me later. I laid my head against Will’s shoulder, letting him stroke my hair, perfectly content. That is, until Kelsey sped toward me. I was taken aback.

    “Um, what are you doing here? I told you they wouldn’t let us see her.”

    She nodded hurriedly. “I know. I came to talk to you.”

    “Okay?” I said, being cut off by Kelsey.

    “I lied to you,” she said quickly. “I never liked Kate. I just told you that because Sarah Beth said that if I didn’t spread something like that...” she trailed off.

    “What?” I asked.

    “Let’s just say some bad things would happen,” she said, leaving plenty to my imagination. I pictured Kelsey hanging over a roaring fire on a spit, like a deer...

    “So basically I got us in trouble for nothing. God, I’m so sorry for ruining your perfect record,” she apologized, becoming extremely close to tears.

    “Well, I’d rather get into trouble with the school than you get into trouble with them!” I said, hugging Kelsey.

    “Thanks girl. I love you,” she said, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. She looked at Will, then at me, then back at Will. “Who’s this?”

    “Kelsey, this is Will. Will, Kelsey.”

    Will extended his hand toward Kelsey, but she ignored it, staring at me with wide eyes full of questions. She wiggled her eyebrows with a sneaky smile on her face, causing me to smack her lightly. “Later,” I whispered. She nodded, and then proceeded to leave the waiting room, where her mom was waiting. She turned back around once she made it to the door, made a big, dramatic, bow, and then left. I shook my head, giggling at my friend’s performance. I put my head where it was resting before and closed my eyes. A wave of exhaustion blew over me, again. These were becoming increasingly familiar. I was about three seconds away from drifting off when I felt Will nudge me back to the real world.

    I opened my eyes to see a depressed looking doctor standing in front of me. He seemed very nervous, as if he were afraid of the news himself. Rocking back on his heels, he delivered the news.

    “I’m terribly sorry to tell you this, but your friend Madi has passed away.”

    At first it didn’t register with me. I sat looking at him with my head tilted to one side. I waited for a “Just kidding!” but it didn’t come.

    “You see, she hadn’t eaten a decent meal in weeks. She was unbelievably thin. In fact, we’re not even sure how she was able to withstand that for so long.”

    It suddenly hit me like a brick. Madi’s dead! A voice screamed in my head, and you killed her! You never talked to her, even though you knew she still wasn’t eating. You were afraid to lose her friendship, but now you’ve lost her! I felt numb; I couldn’t have wiggled my toes if you had asked. I sat there, staring at the pattern of tile on the floor. It started shifting, until I realized everything was out of focus. Almost all of my weight was pressed into Will, until it went black.
    Chapter 12:



    “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”

    It was all I was able to say, for the time being at least.

    “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” I kept saying, until my voice broke and the tears started pouring down my face. I was bawling, unable to stop at all. Madi... Dead... It was all I could think of. My heart was pounding, threatening to stop beating all together. My sobs were a combination of sorrow and extreme pain. I had my head against Will, having come to almost immediately after I blacked out. I felt Will taking my phone out of my purse. I knew he’d spread the word so I wouldn’t have to. I wouldn’t be able to do that.

    My phone vibrated numerous times, but I continued to let Will text them, not being able to do anything else. I had to remind myself to breathe, and it took most of my concentration to keep from passing out again.

    The small part of my mind that wasn’t grieving or concentrating noticed how sweet Will was being. I mean, he was telling people the news so I wouldn’t have to. My heart would have been swelling if not for the fact that it was dying. After some time, the tears just stopped falling. I had cried myself dry. My eyes were swollen and red, and I looked a mess. I felt tired and just wanted to go home. Will texted my mom, promising her that he would get me to my house, as I read over his shoulder.

    “You can drive?” I croaked, my throat becoming sore.

    He smiled a slightly crooked smile. “Yeah, see, I was held back in kindergarten. Twice.”

    “Twice?” I asked.

    “Yeah. Mom thought I wasn’t mature enough,” he said with a roll of his eyes. I normally would have laughed, but I wasn’t exactly myself, so all the rules were changed. He took my hand and led me out of the hospital and to his car. It was a bright yellow Volkswagen bug. I couldn’t help but laugh a teensy bit as I looked at the car, before looking at him. I bit my lip, smiling.

    “Shut up. It was my sister’s.” Will said, looking as if he got that a lot.

    He opened the passenger door for me, then walking in front of the car, tripping slightly, and slid into the car, face red. We looked at each other, eyes locking, until I turned away, flushed. What are you doing????? My head screamed at me. Your best friend just DIED and you’re FLIRTING???????? How respectful is THAT????? While I was having that internal battle, Will began to drive away. We sat in silence, neither of us knowing how to break it. It ended up never being broken, except for my small “Thanks,” as I got out of the car and walked slowly toward the door of my house, then the door to my room.
    ~*~



    It was exactly four days after I had heard the fatal news. I hadn’t been out of the house except to go to rehearsals, and even then I didn’t feel like I was really there. I sang and danced and acted, but I couldn’t talk to anyone unless it was in the script.

    I smoothed the front of my black dress in front of my mirror and began combing out my hair. My eyes were pretty bloodshot, but I had promised myself to not make a spectacle of myself today. After a second of thought, I fastened the necklace Madi had gotten Cathie, Anna, Kelsey, and me. They all matched; it was a black cord with a single blue stone of the end. I finally found my right black sandal and put it on, getting into my mom’s car.

    We arrived at the funeral home twenty minutes before the service. I felt a twinge in my eyes, and put one hand around the stone by my collarbone, as if it would keep me in control. I signed the guest book, putting a small heart by my name. Goosebumps erupted onto my skin as we walked into the main room. People I knew surrounded me, making me feel claustrophobic, which was silly, since I wasn’t when Cathie locked me in her closet with the lights off that one time years ago.

    I stood alone in the least crowded part of the room. My head was down with my bangs falling into my face, trying to be inconspicuous. However, her mom quickly discovered me.

    “Brenna, dear, are you okay?” she said in a voice that was motherly, but laced with sadness. I looked up to see her face, pretty, but with a protective mask on, so no one could see her true sorrow.

    “I think so,” I said quietly. “It’s kinda hard, you know?”

    She nodded with understanding. “I know.” She didn’t leave me alone however, like she normally would have, so I asked, “Is there something you want, Mrs. Montoya?”

    She sighed. “If it were anyone else I wouldn’t ask this, but we don’t have anyone to sing anything, and I know Madi would have wanted something sung.”

    I stiffened, realizing what she was asking. “You... You want me to sing something?” I asked in a slightly panicked voice.

    She nodded, and then added, “But I would never force you to anything like this, ever.”

    I thought of what Madi would have done if the situation had been reversed. Madi would have swallowed her tears and sung her heart out, making the angels of heaven with me sigh sweetly. I had to do the same for her.

    “What do you want me to sing?”

    Mrs. Montoya looked at me surprised. “Well, Madi did love Spring Awakening so much when we took her to see it. Maybe you could sing something from that?”

    I nodded. “I’ll be there with a partner, if I can find one.”

    She smiled, despite the reason why I was singing, and gave me a big, warm hug.

    “Thank you so much Leslie.”

    She then left me to myself. I summed up some courage and began looking around the room for the one person I desperately needed to see. In the process, I ran into most of our teachers, who each gave me a pitying look that Madi would have scorned at, all my friends, and Victoria with her children, who were very nicely dressed. After looking for nearly ten full minutes, I found him. He was standing white dress shirt with a black tie and black dress pants and shoes. He was chatting with Mr. Carpenter and, although I didn’t want to speak with my teacher when I felt that bad, I walked toward them both.

    “Will, I need to talk to you.”

    We walked a little bit away, where we were slightly off-set from everyone else.

    “Can you sing at all?” I asked.

    “I-what?” he asked, confused as to why I was asking him that.

    “Can you at least carry a tune?”

    “I... guess so.”

    “Do you know ‘Don’t Do Sadness’ from Spring Awakening?” I asked.

    “Yeah, of course. I love that musical.”

    “Good, because I’m doing Ilsa’s part and you’re doing Moritz’s part,” I said quickly.

    “Wait, what? When?” he said quickly, his words slurring together.

    “During the fu... service,” I fixed myself, before I could hurt my pride by crying in front of all these people.

    “Okay,” he said, before taking my hand and pulling me lightly into the row of chairs before everyone else took all the seats.

    The funeral service was pure agony, with all of the friends and relatives saying their words about Madi. It nearly brought me to tears, but I stopped myself just in time. Finally, it was my turn. I brought Will up with me. I took the mic into my hand and cleared my throat.

    “I’m not sure what to say. I mean, Madi was one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world, but I’m just not sure. But,” I said pausing for a second, looking toward the band that hide been hired, iPhones all showing the same sheet music from the internet. “Will and I do know how to sing it.”

    The band began playing, and I took a deep breath before I began to sing.



    “Spring and summer ev’ry other day
    Blue wind gets so sad
    Blowin’ through the thick corn,
    Through the bales of hay,
    Through the open books on the grass
    Spring and summer.

    Sure, when it’s autumn
    Wind always wants to
    Creep up and haunt you
    Whistlin’ it’s got you
    With its heartache, with its sorrow
    Winter wind sings and it cries.

    Spring and summer ev’ry other day
    Blue wind gets so pained
    Blowin’ through the thick corn,
    Through the bales of hay,
    Through the sudden drift of the rain
    Spring and summer.”



    Will joined me on the counter part.



    “Spring and summer every other day
    [I don't do sadness]
    Blue wind gets so lost
    [Not even a little bit]
    Blowin’ through the thick corn
    [Just don't need it in my life]
    Through the bales of hay
    [Don't want any part of it]

    Spring and summer every other day
    [I don't do sadness]
    Blue wind gets so lost
    [Hey, I've done my time, looking back on it all]
    Blowin’ through the thick corn
    [Man, it blows my mind]
    Through the bales of hay
    [I don't do sadness]
    Through the wandering clouds of the dust
    [So been there, don't do sadness]
    Spring and summer
    [Just don't care]”



    We finished, and I subconsciously noticed the tears pouring down my face, but I couldn’t bring myself to care about it. We took our seats again, and I felt Will kiss my cheek. I put my head against his shoulder and closed my eyes. I knew that somewhere, Madi had heard, and she was pleased.
    avatar
    madi of suburbia

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by madi of suburbia on Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:16 pm

    love it brenn!
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    BroadwayB

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by BroadwayB on Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:00 pm

    Thanks Mads!
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    courtneyluvsya:)

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by courtneyluvsya:) on Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:13 pm

    love the unedited version Smile
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    IZZY

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    Age : 23

    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by IZZY on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:12 pm

    wow! this is awesome:)
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    chronic

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by chronic on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:15 pm

    wooahhh there i'll start reading now ahah Smile



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    BroadwayB

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by BroadwayB on Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:22 pm

    Thanks guys! Lol, Court, I love the uncensored version too. It has more feel.
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    shaynabobaynaa

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by shaynabobaynaa on Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:52 am

    amazing
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    Zoe

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    Re: Twisted Words

    Post by Zoe on Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:19 am

    I just read the prologue!
    It's super cute so far!
    Oh and it's mannequin. ;] You spelled it a few different ways.
    Haha so I thought I'd just let you know.

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    Re: Twisted Words

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