Authors: Courtney Noel
: <-- Breaking
“I can’t believe you. God, you make me so fucking mad! You’re turning out to be everything everyone said you were. Stop begging for attention,” he says.
“Begging for attention? Really?”
“I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry,” he says back.
“That hurt,” I say.
“I said I was sorry, geez, stop being so selfish.”
: Watch Her Heal -->
I wake feeling of the car moving. Which freaks me out, since the last time I checked, Becca was sleeping at my feet and the car was off. I jump up and unbuckle my seat belt so I can sit up straight. Once I’m upright, I buckle up again, sitting in the middle seat of the back row of my truck. I squint my eyes trying to get them to adjust in the night’s darkness or morning, but it’s summer. I don’t need to know what time it is. I focus my eyes on the driver’s seat. Becca. Her hair is in a messy ponytail that’s almost about to fall out. There are strands of her golden bangs in her face and her clothes are wrinkled. She’s sniffling and rubbing her eyes with one hand, while keeping the other on the wheel. I look out the front window to see only two big trucks and us on the freeway. What time is it? I look at the dashboard. Three thirty in the morning.
“What the hell Becca? Why didn’t you wake me up? If you wanted to get going you could have just woke me up. I’d be happy to drive.” I unbuckle my seat belt and climb into the front passenger seat where Terance and Car are sleeping. Trying not to startle them too much, I pick them both up in my arms and put them in the back seat where they cuddle back up together.
“I just need to get home,” she finally says.
“Well I’ll drive, so you can sleep.”
“I can’t sleep,” she replies sharply.
“Why not?” Right after I ask, Becca’s phone beeps. I reach down on the floor to find a lit-up IPhone blinking the name “Henry.”
“Don’t touch my phone!” Becca screams at me. She reaches over and grabs the phone out of my hand, making the car swerve a little. She seems pissed. Not at the fact that I touched her phone, but at something else. How long has she been driving?
“Where are we?”
“Lake Shasta,” she says. “About eight and a half hours away from home,” she continues.
“What? How long was I asleep?”
“Since about four in the afternoon,” she says.
“Didn’t you go to sleep then, too?”
“It took me about ten minutes after I started to hear you snore to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, so I decided to keep driving.” She still hasn’t looked at me.
“I’m hungry,” I say.
“Me too. I’m planning on stopping at the next McDonald's I see,” she says. “It won’t be hard to find one.”
“You hate McDonald’s, Becca,” I say.
“How do you know that?” Her head snaps to the right and her eyes meet mine.
“You always have, ever since we were little. I would always want McDonald’s and you would want Burger King, and my mom would always take us to Burger King. I remember I would get so mad, but my mom just said I should always let the girl choose.”
“You remember that?” She looks shocked.
“Hey. I love McDonald’s. You scarred me as a kid,” I say. She snickers then pulls off the freeway.
“Whatever. I’m hungry and that’s the only place I know of that is open at three thirty in the morning,” she says. She pulls into the lit-up McDonald’s drive-thru and orders two big macs then looks at me.
“The second big mac wasn’t for me?” I ask.
“Heck no. I’m starved. Those two are mine. What do you want?” She pulls out a twenty and waves it in my face.
“Make it four big macs,” I say. She adds another two to the order then pulls up to the first window and pays the cashier ten bucks. She pulls up to the second window and takes the bag with our meal and hands it to me. She checks all the things in the bag to make sure it’s the right food. Becca’s dad really hates it when someone messes up a fast food order, so he always checks to make sure it’s correct. That’s where Becc learned it. David always says he doesn’t care if he holds up the whole line; it better be the right food that he paid for. We pull out of the drive thru, park, and eat in silence.
“So who’s Henry?” I look at her. She sighs, then looks up from her burger at me. She stares blankly at me for a couple minutes. Or hours.
“The worst thing that has ever happened to me,” she says. Then puts the car in drive and doesn’t say another word.
: Healing -->
By the time we get back into town, it’s noon. Before even going home, we take Car and Terance to the vet. I love Car’s vet. He’s the best vet I’ve ever had for an animal. He’s totally honest, and not in it just for the money.
“Hey, Becc, I heard the news. Are you excited?” Dr. Jerson comes into the doctor’s office and smiles at me.
“Excited and nervous. Surprised. Definitely,” I giggle.
“Who’s this?” He points to Kade.
“My mom’s best-friend’s-son,” I say. What a mouthful. It’s better than explaining why the hell he’s here, though. That would be even more of a hassle to say.
“Ah, and the other little cutie?” He asks, referring to Terance while he scratches him behind his ears.
“Car’s boyfriend,” I say, giggling again.
“Ah,” he chuckles. “Alright well I’ll tell you what, I’m going to do some blood tests on Car, then give her all the shots she needs to keep those puppies growing inside of her, healthy. Is it alright if I keep her over night?” He knows I hate being away from Car, especially overnight. It’s like sleeping without sheets; it just doesn’t work.
“Sure,” I say. “Whatever keeps her healthy.” Kade and I walk out of the vet’s office and climb back into the car.
“Let’s go home,” I say. Kade nods and puts the car in reverse and backs out of the parking lot.
When we get home, Kade puts Terance out in the backyard and I get two blue, glass bowls out of the cupboard. I walk over to the freezer and get out the Mrs. Field’s chocolate mint brownie ice cream. The best ice cream of all time. I put five large scoops into each bowl and pour chocolate sauce on top. Kade and I sit at the breakfast bar and eat.
“So now that I live here, I’m going to need to know how to stay out of trouble,” Kade says. I give him a weird look like what do you mean? He just smiles at me.
“Like, how do you possibly stay out of trouble? Your parents are so strict, and I’m sure you’re not as perfect as you pretend,” Kade says and raises his eyebrows.
“That’s the good thing about being an only child,” I begin. “You know your parents really well – what bugs them and what makes them happy,” I say.
“What bugs them?”
“That’s a long list.” I giggle.
“We’ve got time,” he says pointing to the huge bowl of ice cream I made him.
“Well, never be in the kitchen when my mom’s unloading the groceries – she’ll go crazy. And never ask to change the channel when my dad’s watching football on TV. Oh, and never ask my mom to do a favor for you right when she gets home from work. Just let her change into her pajamas and eat, then you can ask. Oh, and when my dad gives you a really long lecture that has nothing to do with what you asked him or a lecture that he thinks you need, but you don’t, just nod and say “uh-huh.” But don’t say “okay.” He’ll think you’re a smart ass.” Kade laughs, telling me to go on. “And my parents can be really, really insanely irrational. Like, don’t get me wrong, my parents are awesome, and I’m super glad to have them, but sometimes they do the stupidest stuff. Like I’ll ask to go to Chasity’s house just to hang out and watch movies, and she has two other sisters right, and my dad will ask ‘are there going to be boys there?’ Like, wtf? Oh and my mom goes on rants that nobody is helping her with any of the ‘shit’ in the house, and you’ll be like sitting in front of her folding the damn laundry and she’ll get mad that you’re not helping out.” Kade throws his head back and laughs.
“You’ve got it all figured out,” he says.
I smile at him and our eyes lock. “Oh, and when they take your phone away for something you did, then the next day they give it back to you, tell them it didn’t affect you. Tell them they’d be smarter if they would take something that is much more important to you. Like, I said it would affect me more if they took away my phone instead of my IPod. Which is the opposite. I love my IPod, and I could care less about my phone. So I told them my phone means more to me, and now they never take away my IPod, so everyone’s happy!” I can feel my eyes sparkle when I smile at Kade and he smiles back at me. His eyes lock with mine and I literally cannot look away.
“So that’s how you manage to keep your ‘perfect’ reputation. You’re not perfect, but you know how to make sure people think you are,” he challenges me.
“I don’t try to make people think I’m perfect,” I say.
“Oh please. Your hair, outfits, shoes, nails. Everything is always perfect and in place,” he says. “I’ve seen you at school. You are 100% different at school than at home,” he continues. So he has a point. I try to make sure everything looks good, but I know I’m not perfect; nobody is. I try my best to be as close to perfect as I can be, though. I just love getting all the compliments. How random people come up to me and tell me I’m gorgeous. My favorite compliments are about my outfits. I always make sure my outfits are perfectly cute and match my personality. I’m definitely known as the girl with the amazing outfits. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“You watch me at school?” I challenge him right back.
“I don’t think ‘watch’ would be the appropriate word,” he says. “Well, sometimes I did watch you. My mom tells me to look after you,” he says.
I giggle. I can totally picture Cynthia telling Kade to watch over me and make sure I’m okay. “You don’t have to look after me, I can handle high school,” I say.
He laughs at my response. “When we got into high school, it wasn’t me my mom was worried about. She was worried about you,” he says. “She literally thinks of you as a daughter.”
“I am her daughter,” I say. I truly am. I would go to Cynthia for anything I need. She has been in my life since I can remember. I don’t know what life is without her. I start to think about how I’m going to have to learn how to live without her. She’s in Mexico, and now there’s only a phone between us. She won’t be able to come see us. The only way we will be able to go see her if we go to her. Mexico isn’t the safest place for me as a total snow-white girl. Maybe Kade will take me. I doubt he wants to go to Mexico, though. He tries to cover up the fact that he’s Mexican, and speaks Spanish. I see it at school. He even refuses to speak Spanish to Cynthia and Rey. I’m not really sure why, though. Scratch that. I know exactly why. See, the people at my school are superficial bitches. They think that anyone who isn’t white is either 1) really fucking smart (Asians) or 2) slackers that do drugs. What has this world come to? Just because someone is a different color than white, does NOT mean they are different personality styles. I mean, yes, some of those labels are true, but not for everyone. Kade tries to hide his Mexican heritage because he doesn’t want to be labeled in the wrong way. I mean, in my opinion there shouldn’t be any labeling at all. Does no one remember what Martin Luther King said to us? He was the one that talked about all men are created equal, right? Wait... that was Abraham Lincoln. I think. Oh my gosh. I really need to pay attention in history.
“So what makes you mad, Becca?”
“Excuse me?” I nearly spit out the spoonful of ice cream.
“We talked about what makes your parents mad. What makes you mad?”
“Nothing really makes me mad. I just make everyone else mad.” I stare into his eyes.
“And why do you think you make everyone else mad?”
“Because I take things too seriously. I analyze everything. I question why people love me and can’t just accept that they just do. Little things hurt my feelings. I’m a mess. I take everything out on other people and it makes them hate me.”
“That’s not true,” Kade whispers.
“But it is. No one sticks around because I’m too much to handle,” I whisper back. I get up and put my bowl of ice cream in the sink, and walk upstairs. I can’t handle more negative thoughts. My brain feels like it will explode. I need to go to sleep. The thoughts echo over and over again and I can’t do anything to stop it. I hurt everyone. I’m impossible to be loved. I take things too seriously and it freaks people out, so they leave me. And I hate myself for it.