This is a story about a girl, who all her life, has been defined by the scar on her chest. And a boy who, was raised believing that who you are in high school will define who you become in the real world. Up until today the two have lived in two completely different worlds. In a moment, the two are thrown into a whirlwind of drama, and together they struggle under the weight of it all.
I have been inside of this house for long enough. I hadn’t killed anyone, and last time I checked, I wasn’t a prisoner either. It was only a minor surgery for crying out loud and now I’m ready to break out! Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a minor surgery; no open heart surgery ever is. But really this time it wasn’t that bad, I wasn’t a child anymore. This time I knew how to take care of myself. I knew when to push myself, and when I needed to chill the heck out and take a minute. You think my parents would be as used to this as I am, it’s not like this was the first one.
Thankfully Gavin called about a date he scored to Hannah Fisk’s party tonight, and after a few minutes of begging him to take me, he agreed, of course. Gavin was my best friend, has been since I spilt my chocolate milk all over his pants the first day of kindergarten. Of course everyone thought he had peed himself but, were we all, like, five then. We still thought Santa Claus existed and our parents weren’t the real ones hiding eggs on Easter. Sure, it probably was wrong intruding on his date, but I was desperate.
Gavin picked me up around ten. I wore my ripped Abercrombie jeans, and my elbow length long coral shirt. I looked okay, I thought. Not too out there but, not too underdressed. I really didn’t want to attract any attention, I just wanted to get out and have some fun. I had been in that house for two months straight. My walls seemed closer every day. More importantly though, my outfit was perfect for covering this new scar, which started just below my collarbone and ended just under my breasts. I paused. Did I just say breasts? Anyways the thing was huge, and new. So, of course, it was bruised and ugly looking. Not something anyone would willing want to show off.
We arrived at the party just as Gavin’s phone went off, it was his date. She was cancelling, and I could see in Gavin’s expression he had really been excited for it. “Did her carriage turn back into a pumpkin already?” I teased him, my attempt to try and lighten the mood a complete, and utter fail.
“No,” he said plainly. “Her dad said it was too late for a school night.”
“Oh.” I said. I couldn’t help but, think about a sad brown labrador as Gavin sat there staring over the steering wheel of his Honda Tribute. In a quick motion, I raised my hand to his head, and gave him a quick pat. Gavin, after realizing what I was doing, gave me an exaggerated eye roll, and turned off the car. Walked over to my door and opened it.
“Alright Mrs. Frankenstein, let’s go.” I smiled, and stuck out my hand.
“Why thank you, kind sir.” I said, and hopped out of the truck. I was trying to make my voice sound placid and creepy like how a creature of creation would sound like (I assumed) but, I failed.. What I really sounded like was an eighty year old lady, which was neither placid nor creepy. Well, maybe a little creepy. Gavin held my hand, and then wrapped it around his arm like always. He was such a gentleman. Something I always liked about him, that, and his sense of humor. I may have just been cut open, which was a serious matter, and now left to bear an ugly scar but, come on. Calling me Mrs. Frankenstein? That was just hilarious. Growing up, I’ve always been made fun of for my scar. Sure maybe when your ten and guys tease you about how my scar was proof I HAD NOT passed the cooties shot hurt, though it sounds silly now. After years of it the same stupid lines, I’ve learned to appreciate Gavin and his originality. Plus, I’m not little anymore. I know people will always be immature, and judge me because of my scar. So instead of always letting them get to me, I brush it off, and move on. Call it, positivity, or whatever.
The second we got to the door of Hannah’s house, I could smell the cheap beer, and freshly opened ping pong ball packages. Gavin gave me a sideways look, and then opened the door. Once inside I heard a familiar voice call out above all the rest. “Ree! Oh. My. Gosh. Is that really you?” I turned and crossed my arms over my chest just in time for Kali, my friend from the clinic, to rush up and give me a hug. “Oh shit,” she said, her eyes moving to my arms, and stepped back. “I’m so sorry. I completely-”
“It’s okay.” I smiled. By now Gavin had gone over, and was busy greeting the rest of our friends. Some from the clinic, some not. “How have you been?”
“Good.” She smiled, took my hand, and walked with me over to everyone else. “We all missed you though. Did you get our edible arrangement we sent?”
“I did.” I laughed remembering opening it in the hospital the day it came. The doctors had limited the amount of food I could order from the cafeteria but, they said no such thing about food brought from elsewhere; it was almost all gone by the end of the night. Unfortunately, my nurse was mad when he first realized how much I had eaten; my face covered in the chocolate coating of the strawberries but, when I offered him the last one, he smiled and took it. “Thank you guys.” I said only when I reached the rest of the group.
“You’re welcome.” A few of them said together. After that, I stayed and hung out for a bit before deciding I was thirsty. Glancing around there were more than a few drink stations set up around the room. Hannah had really gone all out. Finally, spotting one a few feet away, I walked over and picked up a pre-poured glass of beer and took a well needed sip of adolescent insurgence. It tasted stale and warm but, it would do. Then, with a turn of foot, somebody slammed into me. Their body hitting me like a two-ton brick. This time I hadn’t been prepared, so when his elbow slammed into my chest, I felt a sudden bite of pain before stumbling back to catch my breath.
“Watch it, freak!” I heard the two-ton gorilla call out. It was Kyle Davis, a baseball jock who, on top of being filthy rich, was, of course, popular. Next to him, Hayden Knight. Another guy whose parents were filthy rich. As for his level of popularity, lets just say, he was probably the most popular guy in school. Awesome, I laughed at myself. So much for not attracting any attention. “The peasant watering hole is over that way.” Kyle continued, and jerked his chin across the room. The next thing I knew, a set of hands were around my waist.
“Sorry about that,” the voice said. It was Hayden. “Kyle can be a jerk some times.” Carefully he helped me up. By the time I had caught my breath, Gavin was already there, and quickly pulling me from Hayden's grasp.
“You think?” Gavin was quick to respond. Then his eyes shifted, and settled on my chest. “Shit Ree,” he said. When I looked, it was my shirt he had been reffering to. It was completely soaked. The once soft, coral colored cotton, was now a pale shade a pink, and sticking to my chest. The distinct bruised scar highlighted against my skin. Per usual, people had starting making small comments as to what it could be. Others seemed too busy laughing to care. Gavin, on the other hand, didn’t pause to listen. He shrugged off his jacket, and then pulled it around me.
“Let’s go.” He said, and then he narrowed his eyes at Kyle before walking me out of the house and into his car. “Such asses.” He said, and then started his car. “He spilt my drink.” I said, which made Gavin snort from laughing so hard.
“It’s not funny.” I laughed along with him. So before we got to my house we stopped for a quick snack: two sodas, a Slim Jim, and a bag of cheese puffs. As we pulled onto my street, I realized this was what I had missed. Not parties, not stupid jocks with nothing better to do than belittle others. Gavin, I missed my best friend.
“See you tomorrow?” He asked. Quickly I bit off another part of my half of the Slim Jim, and smiled. Gavin gave me another one of his exaggerated eye rolls before saying, “I’m assuming that disgusting noise you’re making in between smacking is a yes?” I laughed, and then nodded and then hopped out.
Waving goodbye, in an instant of realization, I grabbed the door as it was about to close. Stupid me, I thought. How could I have forgotten to ask the one thing I set out to find out earlier today when I had originally called him? Before I had begged him to take me with him tonight? I had seen our friends from the clinic but, I had let the question slip my mind. “How’s Count?” I asked.
“He misses you.” Gavin said matter of fact-ly.
“I might go see him tomorrow.” I said. “Would you want to tag along?”
“Do I have a choice?” He asked. I smiled at the thought of Gavin not having a choice. This kid was as stubborn as mud. If he didn’t want to do something he didn’t but, he was my friend. So I understood his humor. “Pick you up at eight?” he asked changing the subject.
“Make it eight o’ five.” I replied. “This girl needs her beauty sleep.”
“Uh-huh. Whatever you say, Mrs. Frankenstein.”