“My life is falling apart for the last few days, my dad hits me,” I push my right sleeve and exposes my black and blue covered arm, “and when he is done I go to my room and hurt myself even more.”
“May I ask how so?”
I don’t say anything; I just sigh, pull my right sleeve down, before I push up my left sleeve.
He doesn’t say anything; he just takes my arm and kisses every cut on it.
“On days that I wear short sleeves I put make up on my arms so nobody suspects it,” I reveal to him.
“Make up belongs on your face, not your arms,” he says.
After I tell him about the makeup I hear footsteps coming closer and closer, I quickly drag my sleeve down her arm to hide my black and blue arms and my scarred secret.
Anthony Lindsey bends down and looks at Scott then at me. He sees my tears and his eyes turn from anger and sly to empathy and kindness, then he sits on the other side of me.
I look at Scott, even though Anthony is rubbing my back I am leaning on Scott. I am starting to feel closer to him, I am letting him in, right now it seems like he will be the only one who I will let in. He is the only person who has been kind to me for the last few days. I need that, kindness; I need a friend.
The bell rings.
“We better go,” Scott says.
Anthony and I both nod.
We walk out of the library; I go right as the boys go left. It amazes me how comfortable I feel when I am with him. It seems more than just a crush, now it seems like I am starting to fall for him.
This is crazy; the guy has never met me. He has only given me a ride. I can’t deal with this right now.
I go to my locker and switch my books. A note dances out of my locker and to the floor. I pick it up. It is handwriting that looks like a boy, the handwriting was chicken scratchy.
It was hard to read, but I was curious.
Please go to basketball practice and meet me after. I need to ask you a question.
Sincerely, secret admirer
I go into math and see Mr. Davenport sitting at his desk.
“Lizzie can I speak with you outside,” He says.
“Somebody’s in trouble,” Madison giggles.
Mr. Davenport and I walk outside to the lockers.
“I heard about your Grandma, I’m sorry, is there anything I can do?”
“No, that’s okay.”
“If there is anything let me know.”
“Okay, I will.”
Mr. Davenport and I go back into the classroom.
I go to my desk and see a note laying on my backpack.
Lizzie, meet me at the haunted locker 7th period. I need to know something.
The haunted locker; why would someone want to meet me there? I don’t have a clue what is going on anyway.
It seems like my whole world has turned upside down since grandma’s passing. Scott finding me to see if I was alright, McKenzie talking to me again, even Anthony sitting next to me in the library. It seems too good to be true.
I dig into my backpack and retrieve a journal that has pictures of Grandma and stories I wrote down while she told me about when she was a kid. I learned that I should keep all the memories I can. I didn’t with mom; I regret it every day. I really miss mom and Casey. Sometimes I wish it was me and me. Casey had so much going for her than I do.
Casey was the favorite, she was a straight A student, captain of the cheer team, and the most popular girl in school; everything that I’m not.
When mom was alive dad was a homemaker while mom went to work as an attorney. Mom was a badass attorney. Her co-workers nicknamed her “the shark”, that is how good of a lawyer she was.
When mom was on her way home from picking Casey up from practice they fell victim to a drunk driver. He hit them head on. Mom died on impact and Casey was rushed to the hospital.
I remember when the police came and told us.
Dad was making dinner; spaghetti, my favorite. There was a knock at the door.
“Beth, can you get that?”
“Sure dad,” I got up and started walking toward the door.
“Up, up.” My 3 year old Autistic cousin, McKenna, pulled at my pant leg; who we were watching while Aunt Mel was on a business trip.
I picked McKenna up and hold her as I opened the door.
“Is this the Mathews household?”
In front of me stood a tall white male, he had green eyes and brunette hair; he was attired in a police uniform, the name tag read Daniels.
“Yes,” I was timid and confused.
“Is your parent or guardian home?”
“Dad it’s for you,” I call.
“Yes Beth who is it?”
Dad stopped in his tracks when he saw the police officer.
“Hello Nathan, I need to talk to you…. Privately.”
“Sure, Sweetie can you go watch the spaghetti sauce?” He asked me.
“Sure dad,” I walked into the kitchen, McKenna still in my hands.
I set McKenna in a chair and gave her crayons and her favorite coloring book to keep her busy. I stood by the doorway, my body against the wall, making sure I wasn’t caught. I hate eavesdropping, but when the police come to your door you get scared, when I’m scared I get curious. I stirred the sauce every now and then to make sure it didn’t burn.
It felt like they were talking forever, when in reality it was only five minutes, I hear my dad’s voice finish the conversation, “Thank you for coming,” I hear the door slam shut.
I peeked my head out the doorway, “Dad, are you okay?”
“Beth, turn off the stove and come in here, I need to talk to you.”
I couldn’t understand him through the steam running down his face.
I get even more frightened, you know it’s bad when you hear the words “I need to talk to you,” or even worse, “We need to talk.”
“Sure dad, what’s up?” I sit next to my weeping father.
“That was Officer Daniels, he and I went to college together. He came to tell me that your mom and Casey were in a car accident, mom died on impact, and Casey is in the hospital.” He wipes the tears off his face.
My world started to crumble in my mind. I lost my mom and possibly my best cheerleader.
I went back into the kitchen to grab McKenna and get her ready to go.
“Call Grandma and have her meet us at the hospital,” my dad said as he locks the door behind us.
“Okay,” I put McKenna in her car seat, and then I got in the shot gun seat and call Grandma.
“Hello?” I hear Grandma Gigi’s sweet voice answer the phone.
“Grandma it’s Veronica, can you meet my dad, McKenna, and me at the hospital? Mom and Casey got into a car accident and Casey is in the hospital.”
I heard the hang up tone, which meant that Grandma was on her way to meet us.
Grandma got to the hospital before us; she always had a lead foot when it came to someone being in the hospital, and she was always able to hide it from the cops.
Grandma was crying, “Veronica, Casey wants to tell you something,” she hugs me and then gives me a gentle push toward Casey’s hospital room, I was afraid of what Casey was going to tell me.
I walked into the hospital room, I see my sister hooked up to so many machines it was like she was a science project; I grabbed a chair and pulled it up right on her bedside. She looked horrible; her eyes were black and blue, her face had a lot of cuts, and her limbs were casted.
“Hey Case,” I pull a strand of her golden hair out of the middle of her forehead; it had a lot of dry blood on it.
“Lizzie,” her voice is soft and raspy, “I need to tell you something.”
“I’m here Casey,” I scoot my chair closer.
“Grandma is your biggest fan now, listen to her. Her wisdom will help you.”
After that, her heart rate monitor went to the flat beep. I knew my sister was gone.
The bell rings and brings be back to reality before I start crying thinking of the last time I talked to my sister.
It’s time for 7th period. Out of curiosity I am going to go to the haunted locker. I wait to see who my note writer is. I see McKenzie Hancock, my old best friend, walking toward me. She is alone, so Madison didn’t arrange this meeting, or even knows about it.
“Hey Liz, thanks for meeting me,” she leans against locker 342.
They say it is haunted by the nerd who killed himself the first year it was built. Which I totally don’t believe but it’s kind of fun to act like its true.
“What do you need to know?” I ask.
“What is going on between you and Scott Taylor?”
Oh God, she knows that Scott drove me home, and that somehow he is becoming someone different.
“Nothing,” I half lie. Truthfully I don’t even know what is going on between us.
“Liz, I know that you got a ride from him the other day.”
“Kenz I know that it looks like something is going on, but it’s not.”
“Veronica, you can trust me. I am kinda getting tired of Madison’s bullying, just like Scott has.”
“I really don’t know, I mean it’s almost like he likes me; I mean he found out where my sanctuary is, and only you and Reagan knew that.”
“I told him where you were.”
“I know, he said that.”
“Are you mad at me?” McKenzie asks.
“No, I’m not mad, I’m actually glad that you did.”
“Okay, good. Wait, why are you glad?”
I look at her with an honest face, “Because I am starting to come out of my closet. You know that when my mom and Casey died I became a loner, and then when Reagan died I hid in my closet more than ever.”
“I know, I really should have been there for you,” she confesses.
“No, really?” I say sarcastically.
“Okay Liz, no need for sarcasm.”
“Sorry, I guess I’m still kind of mad about 4th grade.”
“No, you shouldn’t be, I was the one in the wrong, I should have been loyal. I mean you pushed me out of the way and took the hit.”
In 4th grade McKenzie and I were walking across a street to play at the neighborhood park when a car was going way to fast, I pushed McKenzie out of the way and sacrificed myself to save her. I was in a cast for three weeks after my leg was broken from the hit. McKenzie would go to my house every day, until one day she just stopped. When I was cleared to go back to school I found out why McKenzie stopped visiting her; McKenzie went out for cheer squad, turned popular, and let it get to her head.
“I really wish we could be best friends again.” I said with full honesty.
“I don’t see why we can’t, come on, let’s go to the mall. It’s my treat.”
“Thanks. Just let me go to my locker first.”
“Okay,” she says.
McKenzie and I walk to my locker so I can put my
McKenzie and I go to Oakdale Outlet Center.
It has been a while since I have been out shopping. I miss going with my mom and Casey, we would go shopping every other weekend.
“Where do you want to go first?” McKenzie asks.
“Rue 21? I thought you would want to go to Hot Topic first.”
“What are you trying to say Kenz?” I look at her with my arms crossed.
“Well, I mean… Well you,” she stumbles on her words.
“I was assuming that since you have become a loner that you would choose the punk place first,” she sighs.
It feels odd to spend time with McKenzie. It has been seven years since she had the popularity get to her head.
“Hey Liz, I need to do s few errands, you wanna come with?”
What’s the worst that can happen?