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Amanda's Lament (WIP)

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« on: April 07, 2007, 12:33:55 am »

Chapter I

    My names Amanda Nash and I am a junior in high school. I attended a regular high school named Buena Veria. It’s not an unusual high school. I lived in Buena Veria for most of my life. My father is a drunk and my mother is always gone. I never really cared for them. They never really wanted me. I never let that get to me though. I met my best friends as I grew up. I met my first true friend in band camp. He was a cute boy that I later grew to call my friend. He’s name was Marshall Baker. He was kind and very friendly. I was able to tell him anyway without worry or care. We dated a few years ago, but that failed in the end. We decided to stay friends instead. Two years after I met him, I than met Jessica Nelson. She was about a year older then me. I felt like she was my older sister. She showed me compassion, which I never felt before with my real mother. She taught me to forgive not to hate. She was kind of like a teacher, a mother and an older sister in one. After I met Jess, I soon met the man who would be someone I really needed most; a father figure. His name was Jack Nelson, Jessica’s grandfather. He was caring and wise. He taught me to fight and to write. He taught me how to draw as well. I soon after that met Josie Harris. She became my wild side, the side of me that wanted to rebel.  I met my high school crush as a freshman. His name was Lucas and I kind of liked him more then just as a friend.

    I woke up as I normally did, got dressed and went out to school. I went up the street and quickly went to school. I wore a peasant styled blouse, blue jeans and black shoes. I looked down the street and quickly spotted Josie.

    “Hey Josie!” I yelled as I ran to catch up. “Josie!”

    She turned to face me. She smiled and asked, “What’s the rush Mandy?”

    “I’m just excited about being back at school, aren’t you?”

    “No, I wish it was summer, this place always seems… how should I put it… dead to me. I need something that makes me feel good rather than bore me to an early grave. Thankfully, I’m not alone, anyway how was your summer?”

    I made a half smile and spoke softly as we went. I smiled as we talked about summer. I went away for a few months to think and to regroup. I wanted to block out what happened before summer vacation. It was a horrible event. It was especially hard for Marshall. His aunt, Eve, died two days before summer vacation started. I tried to comfort him as much I could, but he was in shambles. I feared he wouldn’t get over this episode. I decided to head off to my cousin’s in San Fran. I wanted Marshall to have some space before next school year.

    “It was nice; I visited my cousin in San Fran. We spent the rest of the summer exploring the city. It was wonderful; I saw the bay and felt the ocean breeze through my hair. It was amazing.”

    We had rounded the corner and dead ahead was school. In the distance, a crowd of people already gathered. Josie was about to speak when a distant voice interrupted her.

    “Hey guys,” yelled Lucas as he hurried over toward them from the other side of the street where he had just been dropped.

    “Hey Lucas,” both Josie and me said in unison. He met us at the school entrance.

    “So what classes do you guys have?” he asked Josie and me as we entered the school.

    Josie simply shook her head and muttered, “Can’t we talk about anything other than school?”

    “O.K., we can talk about what we did over summer break?”

    “Yeah, I guess,” I replied with a slight smile.

    “Cool, so Mandy, what’s your cousin like?” asked Josie as we walked toward the school.

    I smiled as I replied, “She’s pretty cool and she’s really friendly. Hey Lucas, you met her before, right?”

    “Yeah, she was pretty nice,” replied Lucas. “So where’s Marshall?”

    “I don’t know,” replied Josie as we entered the school. “I hope he’s still alive.”

    Both Lucas and I gave her a look.

    “I’m just joking, of course he’s still alive.”

    Lucas and I locked glances for a moment before we looked at Josie.

    “So how was your summer Lucas?” I asked as we walked down the hall.

   “It was O.K., I didn’t do much,” answered Lucas. I looked Lucas in the eyes. He smiled at me and I smiled at him. I turned to face Josie and waved before I went off to my first class. I had English with Ms. Thompson. I closed my eyes and hoped that the day would end soon. It was English III and then I’d be off to art. I felt somewhat interested in Lucas, at least more than I showed him. I wasn’t sure how he felt about me or if he cared at all, but I knew I did. I closed my eyes, untied my hair, let it drop to my shoulder before I entered the class. I felt confident that this year was going to be good, well at least better than last year. I took a seat at the back and placed my backpack beside the desk.

    “Donna Fuse?” Ms. Thompson said as she looked around the room. I closed my eyes and felt somewhat tired. It was my third year in high school and next year I was going to be a senior. I was going to marry Lucas….if he ever noticed me after high school. I opened my eyes as Ms. Thompson called my name.

    “Here,” I replied dully, not sure what else to say. The first day was predictable and dull. I closed my eyes again. I met up with my friends Marshall and Jess at break.

    “Hey Mandy,” said Jessica who stood by Marshall in the courtyard.

    “Hey Amanda,” said Marshall with a smile.

    The courtyard was a large space in the middle of the school.

    “Hi Jess, Marshall; how are you guys?” I asked with a smile.

    “Oh it’s been good,” replied Jessica with a slight smile. She was a tall beautiful girl with long brown hair.

    “I’ve been better,” replied Marshall.

    “Cool, I’m sorry about your aunt Marshall,” I said to both of them.

    “Yeah, I’d rather not talk about it,” said Marshall. I knew something was wrong about his voice. “So anyway, hey Jess, aren’t you a senior this year?”

    “Yeah, I’m a senior this year which is really great,” Jessica said with a grin.

    “Cool,” I said with a smile. “So what are you doing after high school?”

    “I don’t know, I’d attend college I guess.”

    “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” said Marshall.

    “Yeah, I’m sure you’ll do well,” I answered with a smile.

    “Gee thanks, so anyway how’s it going between you and Lucas?”

    “He still doesn’t notice me,” I replied with a frown.

    “I don’t understand why,” replied Marshall as he looked directly at me. I smiled at him and felt somewhat happy that he’s my friend.

    “So anyway, see you guys later,” I said as I headed toward my next class. It was a normal day as usual. I felt bored and somewhat distracted as I normally did. I went home as usual and somewhat felt bored.

     “Hey Mandy, wait up,” called Josie as I went out the front doors. I turned and smiled as she sprinted to catch up. “Hey Mandy, did you hear about homecoming?”

    I wasn’t sure what she meant, so I had no idea what to say.

    “It’s on Friday, which means we’ll have today to Thursday to get a date and hopefully something to wear as well.”

    “I see, so umm tomorrow, we’ll met at Mr. LaVelle’s dress shop?” I stated the obvious so not to sound distracted.

    “Yep, see you later then,” she said as she turned and walked down the street. I frowned before I went home. I hated to say it, but I had no idea who to take to homecoming. I sighed a bit as I entered my home a few minutes later. I frowned as he lay on the sofa with a bottle of beer in one hand and the other clutching a blown out cigarette. I took a deep sigh as I went down the hall toward my room.

    I started to work on my homework. Today was Monday, which meant I was off from work. I worked at a small burger place called the Lemonade Stand. It was a pleasant place, but kind of boring at times. I took a lot of orders from strange people. I had a customer who stuttered a lot and one with a funny looking eye. I frowned as I went to finish my English homework. I closed my books after half an hour before I went to bed.



    I closed my eyes as I stood in front of the dressing room mirror. I opened my eyes slowly and frowned at what I saw staring back at me. I shook my head, adjusted the dress straps and spoke in a frustrated manner.

    “Oh great, I look silly in this.”

    “No, you don’t look silly,” said Josie as she walked to my side. “I’m the silly looking one here. You, on the other hand, look like a beautiful princess without her tiara. I look like a flattened apple.”

    I looked at Josie from the corner of my eyes. I gave a half smile and whispered some encouragement to my red headed friend. “I think you look lovely for a flattened apple.”

    I smiled as Josie shook her head as she turned her cheeks turned pink and mumbled, “You think so?”

    “I know so, Josie, and just relax.”

    Josie mumbled her thanks under her voice. I smiled, turned and walked to my stall to the far right of the room, leaving Josie in my wake. I stood still as I changed into my normal outfit. I had to hurry before my shift started and my boss got mad.

    “Do you think I should get this dress?” I asked from the stall.

    “Yeah, I think you should get it,” replied Josie. I waited for Josie to get dressed before we went to the front counter. We walked toward the counter with the two dresses. Mr. LaVelle’s shop was unique and somewhat small. A fellow named Theodore LaVelle, an old resident of Buena Veria, owned it. He made the most beautiful and somewhat unique dresses that were always good for any occasion.

    “Hello said the cashier as we placed the dresses onto the counter.

    “How much is the dress?” I asked as I pointed at the blue dress I wore earlier.

    “The blue dress is about twenty-four dollars and the green dress costs twenty-six dollars; together the dresses are fifty dollars.”

    I took a deep sigh, took out my wallet, search it thoroughly and handed the cashier a fifty-dollar bill. The clerk handed me a receipt, I thanked him and both me and Josie headed out the door. I walked out of the door first, took a few outside to let Josie out before I spoke again.

    “Did Marshall ask you to homecoming yet?”

    “No, not yet, but I hope so,” replied Josie.

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you, I mean I could see you two really like each other.”

    Josie said nothing as we walked down the street toward my house.

    “Bye Josie,” I said as I entered my house. I closed my eyes, placed my dress in my closet and went to work on my homework. I finished most of my homework before I went off to my shift. I wore a yellow and red uniform to work. I went to relieve Bob, an older fellow with a weird yellowish right eye. I usually tried to look at the ground when I relieved him. I put on a fake smile and waited at my post as usual.

    “Hello, may I help you?” I said. I usually had to say this ten times before my shift ended at 9:00 p.m. I usually felt somewhat bored and hated every minute of it. It helped me with my college funds though I sometimes wish I didn’t have to worry about it. But I then asked myself, who would worry about it? I mean my father was a drunk and my mother was M.I.A. for god knows how long or why. I frowned at these thoughts and felt disturbed by it. Anyway, I closed my eyes and continued to work the register for a couple of hours. I went home as usual; collapsed on my bed and hoped for something better. I woke up late the next day.  I dressed up as I normally did before I ate some breakfast. I went to school a few minutes later. I met up with Josie near the school entrance.
   
“So anyway, how’s it going Josie?”
   
“I’m good,” she said as we entered the school. I felt relaxed as I spoke to her about homecoming.
   
“I’m not sure if Marshall will ask me out or not.”
   
 “I’m sure he’ll ask you out,” I said as we went along. “I’m sure of it. Besides I could tell these things when I see them.”

    She looked at me somewhat disappointed. She whispered something I wasn’t able to hear. I frowned not sure what to say. She said something and I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

    “Ms. Nash,” said a familiar voice. I looked up and there stood my government teacher. “Ms. Nash, I’d like to speak to you for a moment or so.”

    I looked from him to my friend as she went to leave. I frowned not sure what to say. I took a deep breath looked up at my government teacher as he motioned me toward him. I sighed a bit as I went to his room.

    “Ms. Nash, about your grade in Government –“

    “Is it bad?”

    “No, it’s good, really good actually. I was just wondering if you’d like to go into AP Government?”

    “Umm will it involve more work?”

    “In a way, it’s not that bad. I mean you do have the grades for it, but it’s completely your decision. So what you think?”

    “Umm can I give you an answer later on?”

    “Of course, sure, there’s no rush here. I just want what’s best for you.”

    “Thanks,” I said as I went for the door. I hated to admit it, but I never really thought government was that interesting or challenging. It seemed more like a game of wills then anything else. I closed my eyes, turned the doorknob and went out the door. I hated to admit to him that I’d rather not study government. I’d prefer to study something worthwhile like English or something like that. I spent most of my day studying and doing a lot of class work. I went home that afternoon tired all over. I entered my house and there I met a tall well-dressed woman. She smiled at me as she sat on the kitchen table. I frowned as I noticed her suitcase. I wasn’t sure who this was or if my dad knew who she was.
 
   “Umm you must be Amanda, is that correct?”

    “Yeah, umm and you are?”

    “My names Gwen and I’m with Social Services. I was going to speak with your father, but he seems unwilling to talk to me at this moment.”

    I wasn’t sure what to say. I had a lukewarm feeling about this. It wasn’t that I hated my father, it was just I had no idea what Social Services was. I frowned at her as she smiled at me. I knew something was wrong about this.

    “Umm so…why are you here?”

    “I’m just wondering if you are being taking care of, that’s it. So how is it going with you?”

    “I’m good though my father is always drunk and my mother is never here,” I said as I looked at the ceiling. I hated to say it, but something about Gwen made me trust her. I wasn’t sure what to say.

    “I see,” she said as she went through her suitcase. “Anything else you want to say?”

    I wasn’t sure what to say. I wasn’t sure where she was going with this, but hated to be rude.

    “I’m not sure what you want me to say.”

    “Just say how your parents treat you and how you feel about them.”

    “Well, they’re never really here for me and I’d like some support from them, but yeah, I wouldn’t say they’re good parents.”

    She started to write down something on her notepad. I wasn’t sure what to say anymore. I wasn’t sure what’s going on. I looked up at her. She seemed friendly and sort of friendly.

    “So can I go now?” I asked as I watched her.

    “Umm yeah, you can go now. I have all I need. Thank you Ms. Nash.”

    I looked at her for a moment before I went off to my room. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen now. My feelings started to make me feel somewhat more nervous as I went to my bedroom. I took a deep breath and quietly went to bed. I had some homework, but felt too tired to do it tonight. I closed my lights and slowly slip into my bed. I closed my eyes and went to bed.

To be Continued
« Last Edit: April 10, 2007, 02:41:39 am by Avril_fan » Report Spam   Logged


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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2007, 04:20:11 am »

I only read up to the first part(I'll try to read some more later), and it seems so-so.  My biggest problem is that the sentences are short and you lack adjectives.  Trying combining sentences and go in better description of this.  Also, break up you paragraphs more, using 'enters' between paragraphs.  It's kind of hard to read, seems crunched together, but that may just be me.  It also feels like it jumps around too much, without much transition.

Alas, I don't find this story to be of my tastes.  A love story isn't exactly my speed.

Lastly, how did you find the site?
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2007, 01:41:05 am »

I understand that my sentances are short and yes, I do need some more adjectives. But what do you mean by using 'enters' between paragraphs?

I really did mean to make it a love story, though it does sound like it many ways.

I found this site by email. I did some writing here a few years ago actually it was a different forum back then.  Although I can see it has the same font for it's banner which is still cool.
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2007, 02:05:17 am »

I understand that my sentances are short and yes, I do need some more adjectives. But what do you mean by using 'enters' between paragraphs?
Enters as in hit the enter/return button on your keyboard.  I mindblanked on the word.

Quote
I really did mean to make it a love story, though it does sound like it many ways.
I assume you mean you didn't mean to make it a love story?

Quote
I found this site by email. I did some writing here a few years ago actually it was a different forum back then.  Although I can see it has the same font for it's banner which is still cool.
Ah, alright.  So you were a member on the old forum.  We switch to this new one, which is why the mass email was sent out.

Sorry, I haven't yet gotten the chance to read the second half.  I'll add to my critique once I have.

Are there anythings that you feel unhappy with in the story, or any particular comments you'd like to make about it?
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With swords still wet with the blood of their dead
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2007, 05:53:59 pm »

I understand that my sentances are short and yes, I do need some more adjectives. But what do you mean by using 'enters' between paragraphs?
Enters as in hit the enter/return button on your keyboard.  I mindblanked on the word.

They're called linebreaks to my knowledge. They're used a lot on the internet/computers as it's easier to read them. We also have to include them in all of our essays at Uni.

It's basicall just having a blank 'line' between two paragraphs to further differentiate them, and it is especially useful if you don't indent (such as most of the stories on this Forum).

~MTWC
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2007, 02:26:47 am »

Quote
I attended a regular high school named Buena Veria. It’s not an unusual high school.
The repetition seems a bit over the top. It's regular. It's not unusual. Right, we got that....


And after most of the first paragraph I am having trouble getting into it. Information is coming in short, sharp bursts. A single clause in each sentence. One fact. Next sentence please! It doesn't flow in the slightest so far, use commas and such more, keep things going.

After reading the whole first part I quite like the dialogue. The way people speak is nice, quite realistic and casual, if a bit empty. The storyline, or what little of it that has been shown, is sound. A girl, her life starting back in scholl after the summer. Meeting friends, all that jazz. I will read the rest of that and post more comments soon.
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2007, 09:40:39 am »

I think I read the first part before, probably on the old OW.
Any way I have to throw a few things at you. First you have way too many sentences starting with ’I’. This makes the whole think look unrealistic to me. Read a few paragraphs out to yourself or get somebody else to do it. Odds are that all those ‘I’s will sound wrong. The reader can see that it is first person so you can get away with a few less ‘I’s.
Second full names when introducing a series of characters in relatively few lines, for the main character at the beginning its ok, but after that I would only use first name unless it is necessary. Would you introduce your friends by there full name to another friend? Or would you just use their first name?
Third. You have some repetitive things. For example your first three sentence all contain the words high school. I think one (two at most) would have been sufficient. You do this several times with several times. Homework is another one. You have it in one sentence and then eminently in the next. I find this a bit irritating since using it once would have been enough. For example

Quote
    “Bye Josie,” I said as I entered my house. I closed my eyes, placed my dress in my closet and went to work on my homework. I finished most of my homework before I went off to my shift.

The second homework is (in my opinion) redundant. Instead try

“Bye Josie,” I called after her while going into the house. I closed my eyes, placed my dress in my closet and went to work on my homework. I had finished most of it before going off to my shift.

I also change the beginning of this bit a bit to get rid of one ‘I’ (and a my) we know from the line before that they are walking towards Armanda’s house so saying my house was unnecessary (IMO). In fact you could probably replace “into the house” with indoors or inside.

Quote
“I see, so umm tomorrow, we’ll met at Mr. LaVelle’s dress shop?” I stated the obvious so not to sound distracted.

Should met be meet?

Quote
    “Ms. Nash,” said a familiar voice. I looked up and there stood my government teacher. “Ms. Nash, I’d like to speak to you for a moment or so.”

This sounds very formal to me. I don’t know about you but usually my teachers would call me by my first name and not my last when they where calling out to get my attention or something like that.

I better stop now before you decide to hate me. all of the above is subject to opinion. I am not that good at writing so I could be quit wrong on some things.

Hope that helped.

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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2007, 06:41:35 am »

Finally, some real critizism. I was worried that no one would actually read my story. Thank you for your advice. You all have been fantastic.  Grin I'll get to working on my revised verison asap. I'm also going to work on the following chapters as well. It's my opinion that I should have done more practice on first person narrative before I decided to write it.
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2007, 10:46:32 am »

Finally, some real critizism. I was worried that no one would actually read my story. Thank you for your advice. You all have been fantastic.  Grin I'll get to working on my revised verison asap. I'm also going to work on the following chapters as well. It's my opinion that I should have done more practice on first person narrative before I decided to write it.
The irony here is that the others are usually the better critiques and I the one that has nothing much to say. As for practising before hand, consider this your practise. When I started out my writing was a lot worse than yours is here.
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2007, 01:55:31 pm »

Worlock is a modest guy btw, he's pretty much the only person on the site who is guaranteed to have read and commented on anything you post Wink.

~MTWC
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2007, 06:01:23 pm »

Chapter II

    I stood still on the stage, my head up, and my back as straight as possible without flitching. The drama teacher looked me up and down, smiled, paced around me, smiled again and spoke with a thick English accent. He was a charming man in a way. I never really cared for him though. He was very honest and didn’t seem to take if it hurts anyone.

    “I suppose, you’ll have to do. Now take a seat and we can choose the rest of the cast of performers as soon as possible.”

    I took a bow and walked off stage feeling a bit relieved as I went. I took a seat next to a new girl by the name of Mia. She was a beautiful girl. She had long dark brown hair with light highlights. She wore a navy blue shirt with a black pair of pants. She also wore a beautifully shined pair of tap shoes. She had a beautiful voice when she spoke. A voice interrupted my trail of thoughts. I looked up and smiled as Marshall went toward us. He seemed happy as he came toward us. He wore a flannel shirt with somewhat new jeans. I noticed he was wearing new shoes as well. His hair seemed more cut then usual. 

    “What’s up?” said Marshall as he took a seat on the other side of me. I waited a moment before I turned to face him, smiled and whispered, “Not Much, Marshall.”

    “Umm did you get the part?” he asked. I smiled and waited a moment before I spoke. I always liked talking to him. He was like a brother to me. I felt relaxed with him and he with me. I guess it was because we knew each other more then I knew anyone else here. I always thought that he was a trustful face.

    “Yeah, I got the part, it was hard standing straight without flitching for about five minutes or so.”

    “Yeah, I can tell,” he said with a warm smile. “Umm so Mia, how’s it been?”

    “I’m good, it’s just I’m not sure if the drama teacher likes me or not. I mean he seems to think I’m clumsy or hard headed for some reason or another. I just feel a sense of condescension from him, even when he says nothing,” answered Mia.

    “He’s always that way toward new people,” I said with a smile, “Just ignore it and maybe next year, he’ll back off. That’s what happened when I came here at first, and then the next year, he just went to another student. He’s actually sweet once you get to know him.” I wasn’t sure if that was going to cheer up. I remembered how I felt when I was new here. I felt kind of like an outsider, but I got use to it after a while. I was glad that I wasn’t alone her though. I still had Jessica, Josie and Marshall with me which made adjusting here much easier.

    “Yeah, so anyway did Lucas ask you to homecoming yet?” asked Marshall. I shook my head. I wanted to say yes, but Lucas wasn’t really getting any of my hints. I frowned at the attempts and spoke softly.

    “No, I think he might be seeing someone else. I just don’t know who or –”

    “Or maybe he’s waiting for the right moment?” said Marshall as he got to his feet.

    “No, he’s seeing someone. I could tell he’s seeing someone else, and I don’t know who.”

    “Maybe he’s seeing Anika?” suggested Mia after a moment or two of silence. I frowned at the comment. I heard a lot of stupid things, but that was just plain stupid. I knew Lucas and knew he would never fall for Anika. Anika was annoying and self righteous. She believed that she was right and others were wrong. I hated her and hated to admit it, but maybe Mia was right. I was never really able to read someone’s heart. It was a mysterious with an answer I really wanted to not know.

    “No,” I replied, “He doesn’t like Anika, he told me himself that ‘Anika is a no good--”

    A large thud interrupted my sentence. I looked up at the stage. A young boy, probably a freshman, fell onto his rear. I took a deep breath before I spoke again.

    “Anyway, I’m sure he wouldn’t date Anika. I mean she’s the very definition of shallow and vain. He wouldn’t choose her over me.” I said this to prove something to the new girl and to me, but this wasn’t working at all. I felt no truth toward these words. “No, he has to be seeing someone prettier and smarter then me.” Sure it was lying, but at least I made my point string and clear.

    “Yeah, but still he’s not going to ask you out if you don’t ask first,” answered Marshall. I frowned at him, but he smiled at me. I wasn’t sure what he said or meant. I heard Mia take a deep breath. I looked at her, she looked at me and we just stood there looking at each other.

    “I think you should take each other to homecoming,” she blurted out after a moment or two. I was about to look at Marshall, but turned my attention to Mia.

    Both Marshall and I answered, “What?”

    We looked at each other, frowned and went to class. I walked toward my class not sure what Mia meant. I hated to admit it, but she kind of had a good idea. Why shouldn’t I ask Marshall out? I paused at that question and frowned as I lingered on it. I closed my eyes, chided myself before I continued to class. I got rid of this idea before lunch, which was a mysterious stew that smelled like warm sock, mixed with seaweed. I prayed it was chicken, not because it was better, but because it left a cleaner taste in my mouth. I walked straight toward the cafeteria where I met up with Mia, Josie, Lucas, Marshall, and Jessica.

    “So anyway, luckily, I’ll get my license in a few weeks,” said Jessica as she ate her chicken sandwich with a slight grin. I wasn’t sure what to say. I took a deep breath and waited a moment before I spoke.

    “That’s cool,” I answered as I looked at my chicken with disguise. I took a bite and felt glad it wasn’t the stew.

    “Did you hear anything from your dad Jess?” asked Josie. I saw and heard something odd about her voice.

    “Nothing, he’s still in jail,” replied Jess. I saw that this made her feel a lot happier then normal. I wasn’t sure to feel sorry or to coagulate her. “And he’s staying there for all I care.”

    Mia frowned as she said, “Yeah, but –”

    “I’m 18 and legally capable of taking care of myself,” retorted Jessica with a lovely smirk on her face.

    “Umm but what about—“ Mia paused in mid-sentence.

    “I’ve got that figured out, I took a job near the meat processing plant.”

    “Oh,” replied Mia as she looked up at me. I frowned not sure what to say. Jessica seemed content on not caring at all. I just smiled and Mia said nothing for the rest of lunch. I felt something toward this new girl. She was kind and I kind of liked to be with her. I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I just wanted to be friends. I sighed a bit before I continued to try to finish my meal.

    Marshall asked, “So Lucas, who are you taking to homecoming?” 

    “I’m not sure, maybe I should take Anika,” replied Lucas as he took a sip of soda. I almost gagged at the news. Josie performed the Heimlich before it was too late. The piece of chicken flew out of my mouth and into Lucas’s hair. He took the piece out of his hair and frowned. I looked up from him to the far side of the cafeteria. There stood Anika with her ‘friends’.

    “Mandy, are you O.K.?” asked Jessica as she looked at me.

    “I’m fine,” I lied as I looked at Lucas.

    “I’m just kidding,” he said with a smile as he looked at me. I frowned at him as I finished my lunch. The day went without further incidents. I felt disappointed that he wasn’t serious about homecoming. I closed my eyes and decided to ask someone else to homecoming. If he did find someone it was probably for the best. I was pretty obviously and very confident so why bother with just one guy?

    I went home after school. I finished my US government homework after a while of page turning. I then went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face and combed my hair before I went off to bed. I turned off my lamp and went to sleep. I woke up the following morning somewhat more relaxed than I was last night. I got up, got dressed, and went to get some breakfast before school. A few minutes past before I went out the door. I closed my eyes and felt somewhat calm as I walked up the street. I opened my eyes and decided to focus on my work rather then on other matters. I decided it was for the best not to think of it. I was hoping not to think of it at all. I closed my eyes again and just pretended everything was all right. It was best to pretend instead of wish. A familiar voice interrupted my trail of thoughts.

    Mia asked, “Amanda, are you O.K.?”

    “Yeah, I’m fine,” I lied. I hated to lie to Mia, but it was better than the truth; although now I wonder if it was really the best solution. Jack told me never to lie unless sit was a last resort.

    “Are you sure about that?”

    I looked her straight in the face. I wasn’t sure if she knew I lied to her or not. I wasn’t sure of anything really about Mia. I felt as though she could see through me with those beautiful eyes of hers. I saw sorrow reflected in her expression mixed with peace and calm. I wasn’t sure what to say. I turned away and simply walked off to school. I felt depressed inside, but I didn’t want to show it. I placed my façade as I normally did these days. I smiled and just bear it. I was going to study today and not to care about love or Lucas. Lunch again, this time it was mystery chili.

    “To be blunt, I’d prefer my chili without the mystery,” said Marshall as he looked at his plastic spoon full of odd-looking chili.

    “I think it might be pig’s meat,” replied Lucas with a slight gross expression.

    “I hope not,” I answered as I washed down the chili with some lemonade. I hated pig’s meat. I never liked the stuff.

    “Blah, that’s why I bring my lunch,” replied Josie. I smiled as I looked at her. I then looked at Mia. She seemed distracted by something. I wasn’t sure what to say to her. It was a week ago when she transferred to this school. I met her a few days after her move to Buena Veria. We talked to a few days after the school year began. She told me that her mother transferred from her previous office to the one here. Her mother worked with Lincoln’s Armory, which provided weapons for the army. The company had a large factory here, which was need for a new manager. We got along together so far.

    “Bye,” said Mia as we departed toward out next classes. I spent most the day studying and whatever. I went to my job as I normally did. I finished my shift somewhat earlier then usual due to lighting problems. I met up with Lucas at my home. I spent the rest of the night with him.

    “So how are you?”

    I smiled and replied, “I’ve been better.”

    He smiled at me and we continued to talk.

    “So anyway do you have a date for homecoming?”

    I paused at the question. I wasn’t sure what to say. I wasn’t sure where this was leading, but had my feelings that it wasn’t good at all.

    “No, umm I’m still looking,” I lied as I looked at him. I wanted to kiss him, but restrained myself. I wanted to just ignore my feelings, but felt stupid for doing such an act. “So what about you?”

    “Yeah, I’m still looking as well,” he said as he looked at me. I wasn’t sure what to say. Something about him was off. I couldn’t put my finger on it though, but something made me feel uneasy. I wasn’t how to feel, as I looked him in the face.

    “So anyway,” I continued. I felt his hand on my right cheek. I felt something toward him as he looked into my eyes. I smiled not sure what to say. I closed my eyes and wanted him desperately to kiss me.

    “Umm…wow look at the time,” he said as he looked at his wristwatch. I smiled as he waved bye and went out the door. I took a deep breath before I went to work. A few minutes past before I went to bed. I woke up a few hours later. It was still dark out as I got out of bed. I looked at my clock, which glared 4:55 a.m. I frowned as I went to eat some breakfast. I got dressed a few minutes later. I went to work on some of last night’s homework. I frowned as I read Lord of the Flies. My mind wasn’t really into this reading. I wasn’t sure what to say. I closed the book, checked my watch before I went out the door with my backpack in hand.

    I met with Mia half way between my house and school.

    “I’m just not sure if Lucas really likes me,” I replied as I walked alongside Mia. I wasn’t sure what else to say.

    “Does he seem interested at all?”

    I wasn’t sure what to tell her. I wanted to say yes, but was that the truth? Did he really like me? Or was that just I hoping on it? I looked at her; man, she had beautiful eyes, which seemed to cut through me every time I looked into them.

    “Well did you ask him if he did?”

    “And ruin our perfect friendship?”

    “Nothing is perfect,” she answered.

    “I don’t know, I just don’t get him some times,” I admitted as we went along. I looked up at the sky for a moment or so. “I just don’t think we should ruin what we have.”

    Mia asked, “What is that?”

    “What do you mean ‘what is that?”

    “I mean what do you have? If you don’t love him, then what is it?”

    “He’s a friend, that’s how I want it to stay,” I replied.

    “Maybe you two were never meant to be,” she suggested as we entered the high school. I paused at the thought, maybe she was right. I had my doubts and fears about Lucas and me. I feared for the worst with him, but wasn’t sure why. I looked at Mia again. There was something about Mia that made me feel safe. I wasn’t sure what it was. I had this feeling with her that I didn’t have with anyone else. Even Lucas wasn’t able to make me feel this way. She made me feel confused and somewhat relaxed. I’m not sure how to put it. I had this feeling with her that made me want to be with her and not. I might just be going insane or something. I closed my eyes and quickly went toward my first class. I wasn’t sure what to say as I went away. I opened my eyes and hoped that the day would just end soon. I went to my first classes trying to put this behind me. I tried as hard as I could to get rid of these thoughts, but something continued to haunt me. I lingered on these thoughts before I went to my last class.



    I went home as usual, but something made me feel nervous. I wasn’t sure what it was, but something seemed off as I entered my home. I entered the kitchen and there she was again. Gwen was standing there with another person.

    “Hello Amanda,” she said as she motioned for me to seat down. I took a seat opposite both Gwen and her friend. “Amanda, this is Henry. Henry, this is Amanda. Anyway, Henry would like to ask you a few personal questions. I will leave you two alone so as not to distract you two.”

    She got out of her chair and went to the living room. I frowned as I looked at Henry. He seemed nice, well nicely dressed. He had a clean suit, thin-rimmed glasses, well-groomed hair and a friendly face.

    “Hello Ms. Nash, how are you?”

    “I’m good,” I replied not really sure where this was going.

    “I’m here for your own protection Ms. Nash. I’m here to make sure you are well taken care of. It’s my job to see to it that you have a loving home. I know that it might sound confusing, but I assure you that you’re not in trouble. I just need you to ask you a few questions and hopefully find a new home for you.”

    I paused at what he said, “I beg your pardon?”

    “Ms. Nash, I’m with Child Protective Services. I work to improve the lives of those in the community. Now let us begin. My first question is; has any of your parents beaten or threatened to beaten you in any way?”

    I looked at him not sure what to say.

    “No,” I replied quickly lied. My father did beat me a few times, but that was when he was bored. He never threatened to beat me if he was able to do, he did so with no remorse.

    “I see, my second question; where is your mother?”

    “I don’t know,” I replied honestly not sure where she was.

    “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

    “No,” I said as I watched him write everything I said.

    “Do you have any relatives that live the area?”

    “My uncle George, but he left to serve in the Middle East.”

    “I see, so do you have any other relatives living in California?”

    “No,” I said as I looked at him. He was still writing as I answered his questions.

    “How old are you?”

    “I’m sixteen,” I said as I looked down at my shoes.

    “I see, well that’s all for now.”

    “I have a question,” I said as he organized his suitcase.

    “What is your question?”

    “Where is this going?”

    “My colleague explained that you were being neglected by your parents. You stated that your father is a drunk and your mother is never around. We believe that you need to be put into a proper household with loving parents. I’m sure you’ll—“

    “So you’re going to put me in an orphanage?”

    “No, nothing like that; we are going to put you in the care of forester parents.”

    “What about my education? Will I still –?”

    “Don’t worry about it, we will let you still attend high school. This is just a temporary assignment. This is just until your father is willing to confront his drinking problems or until you reach 18 years of age.”

    He closed his suitcase and went to speak with his colleague. I knew something bad was going to happen and now it did. I looked at Gwen and Henry as they spoke to each other. I went to my room and wanted to just runaway. I wasn’t going to some forester home. I wasn’t going to do that. I wasn’t going to be some hopeless child pitied by all. I was going to be stronger then that. I flung my backpack onto my bed. I looked at the clock over my window, which continued to tick loudly as the minutes went by. I took a deep breath and quietly slipped out of my house. I went to see Jack in the hospital. I wasn’t sure where else to go. I closed my eyes and felt somewhat at peace. A few minutes passed before I reached the hospital.

    I never liked the hospital. It was a painful place. I never liked the plain white walls. I lost my favorite pet here. My grandfather died in this place. He was very old and I was very young. I didn’t remember how he died. Jack comforted me when I heard the news. I was about eight when my grandfather left me. I looked back at this and just shrugged it out of my mind. I entered Jack’s room a few minutes later.

    “Hey Amanda,” said Jessica and Jack as I entered.

    “Hey guys,” I said as I stood by Jessica’s side. “So how are you two?”

    “I’m good,” replied Jessica.

    “I’ve been better,” retorted Jack. “How’s it going Amanda?”

    “It’s been going down hill. I was wondering if you’d like to adopt me?”

    “May I ask why?”

    “Two people visited my house, both from Social Services, they told me that I was going to be sent to a forester house. They told me that they wanted me to be in a proper home. I figured that I could live with you two. So what you think?”

    “Amanda, you know we’d love for you to stay with us. It’s just well we’re not really related to and I’m not sure we can legally be your guardians,” explained Jessica. She looked up at Jack. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking. I wasn’t sure what to say. I felt my heart sink and hope quickly faded away.

    “Amanda, it is possible that we could be your guardians,” replied Jack a moment later. “I mean I could ask your father to transfer legal guardianship to me, but that’s if he voluntarily does so.”

    He smiled at me and I smiled at him. He was always there for Jessica and me. I was glad I knew him. He was more of a father then my real father was. I wasn’t sure what to say as I looked at Jack. I felt a new sensation of hope surge through me at these words. I was now more hopeful to find a new home, a loving home. I felt no regret or remorse about leaving my old father. He was someone I never liked. He never treated me with respect. He always considered me a failure and always hated me.

    I paused at these traits and fear quickly replaced my hope. My hopes were quickly dashed. I knew my father hated me, but wasn’t really willing to give me away. I wasn’t sure why he wouldn’t let me go. I felt a surge of hatred rage through me as I thought of him. I hated him so much. I looked at my fists and frowned as I looked at Jessica and Jack.

    “I’m sorry, it’s just my father’s kind of hard headed. He never thought of me as more then just a failure.”

    “I know the feeling,” said Jack softly. “We are all in the same boat. My father never cared much about me. My son-in-law never treated Jessica good either.”

    I felt somewhat relaxed as we continued to talk.

    “I have my driver’s license,” said Jessica. I smiled, both thankful and relieved that she changed the subject. “So Jack, I was wondering –“

    “No,” said Jack with a large grin.

    “You didn’t hear my question,” replied Jessica defensively.

    “I know what you were going to ask. I don’t have enough money for a new car. Besides you can always borrow my car if you don’t dent it.”

    “O.K., fine,” said Jessica. I smiled not sure what else to say or do. “So how’s it with you and Lucas?” She turned her attention to me. I frowned not sure what to say.

    “It’s going along well,” I lied.

    “Mm… yeah, anyway I’m graduating this year. I’m glad to say two colleges are willing to accept me on. One of the colleges is willing to give me a scholarship and the other a grant. I’m hoping to go for the scholarship next fall.”

    I smiled not sure what to say. I wasn’t sure what would happen to me after high school. I wanted to be a chief after high school. I was a good cook. I knew a lot about cooking. I knew how to cook a mean for more then two people. I was patient and very relaxed when I cooked. I had some ideas for a restaurant somewhere quiet and peaceful. I drew a design for my new place. I was hoping to make it look like a peaceful French café. I had no idea how to fund this, but was willing to do whatever it took to find a way to.

    Most of my teachers considered me optimistic and hopeful. Most of my friends consider me patient and somewhat reliable. I wasn’t sure how to define me. I guess I would be considered optimistic because I saw something good in almost everything I did. I saw hope in something hopeless, but sometimes this failed me.

     I closed my eyes as I went out the hospital doors. I looked up at the sky. I felt a cold peace grow inside me. I wasn’t sure how to get my father to transfer guardianship. I wasn’t sure where to get the documents or how to request for them. I hated not knowing what to do. It was sort of like a pet peeve of mine since I was six. I took a deep breath and accidentally crashed into someone. I saw onto my butt as papers flew everywhere.

    I looked up and saw a young woman as she said, “I’m sorry, are you O.K.?” 

    “I’m good,” I replied as I helped her with her papers. She had a lot of legal forms and papers. She looked about three years older then me. She had on a beautiful blouse, skirt and had on a pair of black high-heeled shoes. “My names Amanda by the way.”

    “Hi, my names Michelle.”

    “Umm…Michelle, do you know anything about adoption?”

    “Umm…what do you mean?”

    “I mean I was wondering if you knew anything about adopting a child.”

    “Oh yeah, I run an orphanage down by Franklin street. Why do you ask?”

    I smiled not sure what to say. This was my chance to find out as much as possible about adoption. I felt more hopeful now then ever before.

    “My friend wants to adopt and I’m not sure what to tell him.”

    “Well, it’s a long process and very hard to start. I could help your friend adopt the child in question, but I’m not sure how long it would take.”

    “I see, umm…. thanks. How can I contact you?”

    “Ah well here’s my business card with the address of the orphanage on the front.”

    I smiled not sure what else to say.

    “Thanks,” I managed as we departed. I wasn’t sure what to think as I went home. I was going to finally be able to leave my old house for something better. I felt a deep sensation of peace and hope surge through me. I felt as if I found the exit of a sinking ship. I can’t explain how I felt as I entered my room. I yawned a bit as I slipped into my bed. I hoped for the best and feared all the unfortunate possibilities. I hated to avoid the possibility that this was not going to work. I wasn’t going to believe that this was not going to work. I was hopeful and more optimistic then I was about anything else.

    I closed my eyes as I lay in bed. I had my fears and my doubts as well. Yes; this seemed like a good idea and plan, but something was off. It was too good to be true. I had to admit that much about it. I feared what might happen and felt my hopes crash to pieces. I tried to sleep, but felt nervous and hopeless. What if this doesn’t work? What if I’m not able to find a better home? I feared these questions and the possible answers. I woke up a few hours later. I heard my father yell at something distant and far away. I heard a gun shot a few seconds later. I felt my heart race as I got out of bed. I rushed to the front door not sure what was going on.

    I went out the door and froze at what I saw next. My father was wrestling with three police officers. He was holding onto his
shotgun as he struggled against the police. The three officers were trying to take it away from him. The gun slips out of his hands and onto the floor. One of the police was able to hand-cup my dad. The other two pushed my father to the floor. He was drunk as hell as they placed him in custody. I smiled as they took him away. I felt no remorse as I watched the police cars drive away.

To be continued
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2007, 10:38:15 am »

Amada close’s her eyes 14 times (I think) in chapter one and two but she never opens them.  Wink

In you description of Mia you have five sentences beginning with ‘She’ I think with a little fiddling you could drop one or two of them.

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waited a moment before I turned to face him, smiled and whispered, “Not Much, Marshall.”
‘Not much’ is probably sufficient so drop the Marshall

Quote
    “I’m good, it’s just I’m not sure if the drama teacher likes me or not. I mean he seems to think I’m clumsy or hard headed for some reason or another. I just feel a sense of condescension from him, even when he says nothing,” answered Mia.

I think most readers will know its Mia speaking so the ‘answered Mia’ is a bit redundant.

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I took a deep breath before I went to work. A few minutes past before I went to bed.

I think we are missing something here, either some time or a sentence or two at least.

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    “I’m just not sure if Lucas really likes me,” I replied as I walked alongside Mia.
Replied usually means that there was a question or comment before the current speaker, but here you have the first speaker replying. Replying to what?

Quote
    “No,” I replied quickly lied.

Either ‘I replied’ or ‘I quickly lied’ as it stands that dose not make sense.

The beginning of this chapter sounds ok but the end it is a bit … a bit rushed. The scene with the Child Protective Services people still seemed ok as far as I can tell but the scene with Josie and Jack seemed odd. They went onto the adoption subject way to quickly to sound real (in my opinion at least)
Finally the meeting with Michelle looked staged, it is unnatural. I can understand its role but at the moment it just dose not fell right. I would just have her say hello and so on and leave the entire adoption section till another chapter. That way we have what looks like an accidental meeting that’s unimportant but can be brought along later when it is needed.

I hope that this has helped.

When you write the next chapter but it aside for two or three days and then read it again then write down what you liked and not like about it. Also tell us what bits in your writing you are unhappy with. In essence critique your own work. That may help you with you over all writing.
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2007, 07:31:08 am »

I am enjoying this so far, can’t wait for an update. It reads well – a lot better than anything I have ever written.
Although it never says when Amanda opens her eyes, it was not something I noticed, I found it to be something that is unnecessary - I  just made the assumption that she had opened them.
I find it rather unbelievable how she meets Michelle, though I guess that is the way it works in stories.
I like Amanda’s character so far; I can see it working out with Lucas’ though that is probably just my current mindset of  'it should all work out in the end'.  She is someone I feel I can understand in many ways.
Please don’t wait to long to update, though having said that don’t rush things, let them come. You have great potential as a writer.
I will probably give it a second readthrough later, though I think Tau Worlock has picked up on most of the points where it could be improved.
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 01:55:02 pm »

Anyway, here's the next chapter with an updated second chapter ending


     I closed my eyes as I went out the hospital doors. I looked up at the sky. I felt a cold peace grow inside me. I wasn’t sure how to get my father to transfer guardianship. I wasn’t sure where to get the documents or how to request for them. I hated not knowing what to do. It was sort of like a pet peeve of mine since I was six. I took a deep breath and accidentally crashed into someone. I saw onto my butt as papers flew everywhere.

    I looked up and saw a young woman as she said, “I’m sorry, are you O.K.?” 

“I’m good,” I replied as I helped her with her papers. She had a lot of legal forms and papers. She looked about three years older then me. She had on a beautiful blouse, skirt and had on a pair of black high-heeled shoes. “My names Amanda by the way.”

    “Hi, my names Michelle.”

    “Cool, see you around than.”

    “Here’s my business card so we can keep in touch.”

    “Thanks,” I managed as we departed. I closed my eyes as I lay in bed. The following morning started calm as it normally did. I went through my normal routine; dressed up, got dressed, and went out the door. It was peaceful as I went. My mind was focused on various things at the same time. Mia was a topic I couldn’t avoid at all. She was someone I wanted to talk to. I had to think of my academic career as well.

    My thoughts were also on finding another job. I never wanted to serve fast food. It was a job that I didn’t want in the first place. Sure it was a good job, but it wasn’t that interesting at all. Not much happened at the Lemonade Stand. I accepted the job, because it was better than the latter, which was far worse. It sounds stupid, but in my opinion, I had made the right choice. The latter was something I’d rather not talk about.

    I entered the school as I normally did. It took me a while to realize something was up. I decided to investigate the computer lab. Something caught my attention as I entered. Someone was hanging by a rope near the window cells. I froze in the threshold. It was Mr. Waldman, the computer lab teacher hanging from the ceiling like a piece of beef. His eyes were closed and his skin was a pale white as he dangled before me. I turned and went to tell someone. So I went to the main office and told them what I saw. The person in the office went to investigate it. It took a while before she confirmed it. They called the police who arrived a few minutes later. I went to class before they arrived. I had no choice, but to go to class before I threw up. My thoughts were concentrated on that single image. He was full of live just last week. It was hard to believe he would kill himself out of the blue. He was a kind man with a unique attitude. I knew him well even to know his intentions. It was hard to believe he’d kill himself. My mind was trying to wrap itself around this. It was hard to handle this. Something was missing here, something that makes no sense at all.

    “Hello,” said a somewhat familiar voice. “Umm Amanda, are you O.K.?”

    I looked up, there was Sabrina and she looked concerned about me.

    “I’m good,” I said as I looked back at her.

    “O.K., good, now what about you and Lucas. Is he going to ask you yet?”

    “Not yet, I hope soon.”

    It was hard to focus on Lucas when someone had just died. She was my friend, but I wasn’t much for talking about love.

    The teacher asked, “Amanda, Sabrina; is there something would like to add?”

    I frowned as I spoke, “Not really.”

    “O.K., can we stay on topic? I’d like us to finish this lecture before lunch.” She went back to her lecture. It was harder to concentrate as the day went on. I had to admit something was wrong here. It took me a while to realize it though. I went to Sabrina for some help. She told me that she was good at solving these things. At first, I didn’t believe her until I saw how she went about solving the case. Unlike the police, who wrote this off as a suicide, she was into it as if she trained her whole into solving this one case. She looked at Mr. Waldman’s computer. He had a camera built into his laptop. It was a while before she managed to hack into it. We watched as someone tied him to the ceiling. The quality of the camera was somewhat lame.
It was hard to see how hung him or why. But the audio was somewhat good.

    Waldman begged his captor, “I’ll tell you everything, just don’t—”

    It was too late for that; the other man pushed the chair beneath Waldman. His body moved one way while the rope tugged him the other. Some droplets of blood splattered forth from his neck. His eyes bulged a moment before his body stopped moving. I felt my heart race as he slowly slipped away. His eyes were still open as they finally closed. My stomach turned with disguise, sadness, and fear.

    “Turn it off,” I managed to say as I got to my feet. “I can’t look at it.”

    “I’m sorry,” she replied as she turned it off. I looked up at her.

    She seemed concerned for a moment or so. It was a while before I realized she was looking at me.

    I frowned as I said, “What? Is something wrong?”

“Nothing, it’s just someone hacked into the school database.”

    “Yeah and that concerns me how?”

    “Well, whoever it was wanted something specific and wanted lots of info on it too. Whoever did this was in a hurry and didn’t even bother deleting the evidence. I mean whoever it was able to download and print basically a whole profile on….”

    She looked up at me and I simply frowned. It was annoying how she didn’t finish her sentence.

    “The profile of who?”

    “The hacked into your profile. I’m not sure who it was, but whoever it was, was able to hack into three firewalls without alerting school officials or anyone at the school distract of such an action. This guy managed to download your school records and possibly your personal info as well.”

“Who would do such a thing? Why me?”

    “I don’t know, but it was, is a really good at computers and hacking for that matter. I’m sorry to say it, but someone is interested in you. I don’t know why they are, but some how you’re on their radar. This is not good at all.”

    “Great, now I have a hacker stalker on my ass. What else can go wrong?”

Chapter III

    I woke up, went downstairs before I heard it all. I ran to the window. My father was outside drunk as hell. He was carrying his shotgun as he stumbled about. I frowned as I watched him stagger in all different directions. It took a while before the police arrived. I decided to rush to school rather than watch them man handle my father into a nearby police car. School was my new escape from this. Well it was one of two places I felt safe in. The other was with Jessica at her place. She was a good friend in many respects. I trusted her as much as if we were sisters. Her grandfather Jack was usually in the guest room. Her father was arrested a while back. Her mother seemed more melancholy than cheerful or anything else for that matter. There was not much to say about Mrs. Nelson other than she seemed dead to me. She was nervous and seems to not where she was half the time. She also worried about cleaning her house. It was hard to say where that came from. She was never really into cleaning before her husband went to jail, but for some reason, she made it her primary concern to get it ship shape. I was worried about her as well as worried for Jessica. She wasn’t sad about what had happened. No, on the contrary, she was happy about it. I felt worried that she might be bottling up some emotions.

    I usually stayed at her house just to avoid Gwen and her friend. It was hard enough knowing my father was in jail. Now I wanted to avoid being put in a forester home. I wrote to uncle once and a while. He said he was doing fine and that he might actually be prompted to Corporal a few days from now. His letters were cheerful, but he still missed our family and me as well. I had dreams where I had a real family instead of the one I got. Sure it was a selfish thing to dream, but what are dreams anyway? Dreams were all I had other than denial and friends.

    I went to Michelle’s orphanage for a small chat. She was a nice person and I figured she’d help me find a new place to crash. Or at least, somewhat that’s not a forester home. I wanted to not be dumped onto strangers without any children of their own. Sure they might have had a good home, but I’d rather not risk it. Her orphanage was a large two story Victorian house. I went up the stairs to the main doorway. I knocked once before someone answered. He was a young boy, about five years old, and was very cute.


    “What do you want?”

    “I’d like to speak with Michelle,” I replied. He smiled before he yelled, “Michelle, someone wants to speak with you!”

    “I’m coming, Erick,” replied Michelle’s voice. Michelle appeared a few seconds later. She smiled as she let me into the house. “Amanda, how are you?”

    “I’m good, how are you?”

    “I’m terrific, umm so why are you here? It’s not that I don’t want you here. It’s just I’m surprised you’d show up.”

    “I know, I don’t know where to turn. I was hoping to seek your help.”

    “I’ll try to help you, but I’m not sure what you want me to do.”

    “My father’s in jail, I’m not sure where lese to turn anymore. Social Services will probably put me into a forester home or something.”

    “I see, well anyway I can let you stay here for a while. If you want to though?”

    “I won’t be any trouble, it’s just I really don’t want to go to a forester home. I’d rather be somewhere I know is actually safe.”

    “Don’t worry about it, I’m sure this will turn out for the best.”

    “I doubt it.”

    “What was that?”

    “Nothing, I just mumbled to myself.” I hated lying to her, but she seemed very optimistic. I didn’t want to crush her mood. It was probably best to let her have her optimism. We went to the library, which was almost empty. A young girl sat in the corner behind a book. She wore a pair of thin glasses. Her hair was a beautiful shade of brown. Something about her made me feel comfortable. Michelle asked me to take a seat beside the young girl, Dawn. I smiled as I took a seat.

    “Hello,” I said as Michelle went to get something to drink. “Dawnie, umm what are you reading?”

    “Ender’s Game by Orson Scott,” she replied in a nervous tone. She looked at me for a moment or so. Something about her expression made me relaxed. It was odd though considering how nervous she seemed.

    “So why are you here Dawnie?”

    “I never my parents or who they were. They died before I knew how to walk.” She seemed to grow calm as we spoke. There was a charm in her voice that made me want to stay with her. Michelle re-appeared with three glasses of water. She placed the tray on the table. I looked up at Michelle who smiled and simply asked.

    “So what were you guys talking about?”

    I smiled as I spoke, “We were talking about books in general.”

    “That’s cool, so what books specifically?”

    “We talked about Ender’s Game,” answered Dawnie.

    “That’s cool, so what did you think about it?”

    “It’s a good book, I like the character development. I also like the character of Ender. He’s a good kid.”

    “I see, cool, so what other books did you talk about?”

    “We talked about Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read about up to chapter sixteen so far. I like some of the imagery used by Jane.”

    I had read Pride and Prejudice a while ago. It was a lovely book though some of the words were hard to understand. Elizabeth, the young woman the novel is basically focused on, is a unique woman. She makes up this prejudice towards Darcy who has a lot of pride in what he does. Jane manages to outline the title by those two traits. I found it interesting and loved most of the dialogue.

    “So what did you think Amanda?”

    “Well I thought she wrote a great novel. I liked how she outlined her title by using her character’s traits: pride and prejudice. It’s a good book to pass the time with.”

    “I’m glad you like it. It’s a good novel although some of the language is old fashion. I did like the character development and the imagery used.”

    I smiled not sure what to say. It was hard to express how I felt at the time. She took a sip of water and Dawn went back to her reading.

    “So,” said Michelle, “what’s up Amanda?”

    “I’m not sure what or where to start really. I was hoping to find somewhere to stay, but I’m not hoping to leave my father. He’s very sick and I’m hoping for him to get better.”

    “It sounds hard, if you want, you could stay here for a couple of days till he gets better?”

    I felt happy about my decision.

    “I have two rooms that aren’t being used by anyone really,” added Michelle. “I’m sure if you want, I can help set you up there.”

    I smiled, which slowly turned to a frown. My thoughts were focused on avoiding Gwen and her friend. I’d wonder what they’d say if I turned out to be staying in an orphanage.

    “I shouldn’t have brought this up, sorry for wasting your time.” I got to my feet and headed out the door. It was hard to explain my change of heart. It was probably for the best not to let them into my world. It was for the best to not to know. Michelle and Dawn were good people and I knew in my heart that they’d care for me. But I didn’t want to ruin their lives in the process. This was probably a childish fear, but something in my mind told me otherwise. So I went home in silence. I closed my eyes for a moment before I opened them again. It was hard to believe how my life got from worst to screwed up. It seemed easy to explain this in a blunt fashion. I knew nothing in my life other than failure and broken promises. Sure, there were those days when everything felt right, but those were few in numbers. I made this façade for everyone to see and like. It was a mask that I hide behind when I meet new people. They see something about me that they thought was pleasant instead of sad.

    The following day was awkward and was somewhat annoying. At lunch, two of the football players managed to place me in a basketball hoop. It was odd being stuck in that basketball hoop. Most people ignored me or laughed at me as they went by. I hated to say it, but I felt pissed. This was something that I never liked at all. It took a while for the administrators to get me down. They led me to the principal’s office to tell him what had happened. I told him that two of the football players (I didn’t tell him the names) thought it would be funny to put me in a basketball hoop. He than let me go to class after I told him what had went on. I wanted not to speak about this ever again. This was something that I felt was terrible. Now, that I look back at it, it wasn’t that bad, although it was horrible being laughed at by most of the school. I frowned as I went to class. It took me a while to get over what had happened.

    “Mandy, are you alright?”

    I looked up and there stood Nikki. Her name was Nicole Bradley, but most of us called her Nikki for short. I knew her since my first year of high school. Her body was some how grew a few inches in the breast area. She was a B cup when I last saw her, now she was well I’d rather not say it. Let’s just say that it was harder for her to make the males stop starring at her body without tripping or acting stupid. It wasn’t that she wasn’t bright. No, she had deep thoughts and expressed herself like someone three times her age. She was like Fred in a way. They both liked to read. It was hard not to believe they weren’t close friends.

    “Amanda, are you alright?’

    “I’m fine,” I lied.

    “It’s just well you seem out of it for some reason. I couldn’t tell why.”

    “It’s just I’m just worried about my dad.”
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2007, 10:33:05 am »

Nice to see another part of your story. That said I am afraid that I have a few bones to pick in there, this will sound a bit harsh, sorry.

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    “Thanks,” I managed as we departed. I closed my eyes as I lay in bed. The following morning started calm as it normally did.


You make big jumps in time within these three sentences. The “I closed my eyes as I lay in bed.” Would have been better as a new paragraph if it is necessary and at the moment it isn’t really. You could have gone on and shown us what she was thinking before she fell asleep but by going straight to the next day you make that line unnecessary.

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I went through my normal routine; dressed up, got dressed, and went out the door.


“dressed up, got dressed,” ? either I am missing something here or the first one is not needed.

Quote
    I entered the school as I normally did. (1) It took me a while to realize something was up. I decided to investigate the computer lab. Something caught my attention as I entered. (2) Someone was hanging by a rope near the window cells. I froze in the threshold. It was Mr. Waldman, the computer lab teacher hanging from the ceiling like a piece of beef. His eyes were closed and his skin was a pale white as he dangled before me. (3) I turned and went to tell someone. So I went to the main office and told them what I saw. The person in the office went to investigate it. It took a while before she confirmed it. They called the police who arrived a few minutes later. (4) I went to class before they arrived. I had no choice, but to go to class before I threw up. My thoughts were concentrated on that single image. He was full of live just last week. It was hard to believe he would kill himself out of the blue. He was a kind man with a unique attitude. I knew him well even to know his intentions. It was hard to believe he’d kill himself. My mind was trying to wrap itself around this. It was hard to handle this. Something was missing here, something that makes no sense at all.

This entire paragraph could probably make a chapter out of itself if you work on the idea probably. See the numbered points below (corresponding to the bits after the numbers in the paragraph)

(1)   How come Amanda was the only person who realised something was up. She was not the first person in school so it is unlikely that he has no been found already. If nobody knew, then there should not have been something for Amanda to notice. Going straight to the computer room also seems unnatural.
(2)   By saying someone you imply that Amanda did not know the person but then you say she did. I think his eyes would be open if he died by hanging.
(3)   Three ‘went’ in as many sentences. I think the person in the office would have called in a senior teacher/head teacher/other important adult, instead of going herself. Also we have no emotional reaction from Amanda. She has just seen a person dead and all she dose is go to the office? No emotions? Maybe she is not a screaming kind of person but there would still be shock.
(4)   The police would have closed down the school. They would have interviewed Amanda and all other students/teachers that had anything to do with  Mr. Waldman. Having the day go on as if nothing happened would be bad police practise, would be against health and safety regulations (I think), would be irresponsible by the school, I think you get the idea.

In conclusion: I am sorry to say that you have not handled the idea of the hanged teacher that well. You did not think the consequences throw. With extensive rewrite you could turn this into an entire chapter.

The scene with Sabrina where they hacked into the laptop dose not sound right. How come that the laptop was so easy to get hold of? Also who can Sabrina tell so easily that someone got Amanda’s details so easily.

Since the meeting with Michelle has been changed the entire orphanage seen is out of place.

There are quit a few more things but I am too tiered to continue right now (2: 50 am is to early to think straight for to long), I will try and get round to them when I have some time.
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2007, 08:02:14 am »

Revised Verison 2 of Amanda’s Lament: Book 1

Chapter I

    My name is Amanda Emma Nash. I am a junior in high school.  I attend a really lame school named Buena Veria High.  I have long dirty-blonde hair; hazel eyes and somewhat white skin. Some of my older teachers comment that I have my grandmother Grace’s eyes and my grandfather Tom’s personality.         
                                                                                                                                                                   
    Buena Veria is a beautiful coastal city. Well technically it wasn’t a city as it is more of a suburb of L.A.

    My father was a drunk and my mother was always gone.  I never met my mother or knew why she left me.  I always wondered why she was never around.  My father usually was drunk and angry.  My father never really wanted me.  It didn’t really bother me.  Human nature was something I never really got.  I never understood it or cared for it that much.   

    I met my first true friend in band camp.  He was a cute boy that I later grew to call my friend.  His name was Marshall Baker.  He was worried about his piano skills.  I listened to him play the piano.  He was really good for someone his age.  He was kind and very friendly to me.  I was able to tell him anyway without worry or care.  We dated a few years ago, but that failed in the end.  It was hard to say why we stopped dating.  We decided to stay friends instead.

    I met Jessica Nelson, my best friend, two years later.  She was about a year older then me.  I felt like she was my older sister.  She always looked very pretty especially when she wasn’t wearing make-up.  She grew out more than I did, if you know what I meant.  Let’s just say she was more curved than me.  She usually wore a pair of pants and a beautiful blouse.  She wore her hair in a ponytail for several years before she let it flow freely.  She had gone through four hair colors before she decided on a light blonde with black at the edges.  She showed me compassion, which I never felt before with my real mother.  She was kind of like a teacher, a mother and an older sister in one.

    After I met Jess, I soon met the man who would be someone I really needed most; a father figure.  His name was Jack Nelson, Jessica’s grandfather.  He was caring and wise. He taught me to fight and to write.  He taught me how to draw as well. 

    I soon met Josie Harris.  She became my wild side, the side of me that wanted to rebel.

    I met my high school crush as a freshman.  His name was Lucas and I kind of liked him more than just as a friend.

#

    I woke up as I normally did, got dressed and went out to school.  It was a while before I finally decided to wear a peasant styled blouse, blue jeans and black shoes.  Today was going to be a calm California day.  The weather here in Southern California was always the same - sunny and clear.  Sometimes I wished it would rain.  It was quiet as I went.  I looked down the street and quickly spotted Josie.  She was a short, red headed girl with a unique personality. She was friendly, but somewhat rebellious.  I never knew anyone like her from when I was child to now.  She was always optimistic and caring.

    “Hey Josie!” I yelled as I ran to catch up.  “Josie!”

    She turned to face me.  She smiled and asked, “What’s the rush Mandy?”

   “I’m just excited about being back at school, aren’t you?”

    “No, I wish it was summer, this place always seems… how should I put it… dead to me.  I need something that makes me feel good rather than bore me to an early grave.  Thankfully, I’m not alone, anyway how was your summer?”

    I made a half smile and spoke softly as we went.  We talked about summer.  I went away for a few months to think and to regroup.

   I wanted to block out what happened before summer vacation.

    One of my friends died.  It was hard for me at first, but I managed to cope with it.  It was especially hard for Marshall.  His aunt, Eve, died two days before summer vacation started.  I tried to forget how she died.  I wanted to forget how she drowned in the local pool.  I never really knew she couldn’t swim. I tried to comfort him as much I could, but he was in shambles.

    I feared he wouldn’t get over this episode.  I decided to head off to my cousin’s in San Fran.  I wanted Marshall to have some space before the next school year.

    “It was nice; I visited my cousin in San Fran.  We spent the rest of the summer exploring the city.  It was wonderful; I saw the bay and felt the ocean breeze through my hair.  It was amazing.”

    We had rounded the corner and dead ahead was the school.  In the distance, a crowd of people had already gathered.  Josie was about to speak when a distant voice interrupted her.

    “Hey guys,” yelled Lucas as he hurried over toward us from the other side of the street where he had just been dropped.

    “Hey Lucas,” both Josie and me said in unison.  He met us at the school entrance.

    “So what classes do you guys have?” he asked Josie and me as we entered the school.

    Josie simply shook her head and muttered, “Can’t we talk about anything other than school?”

    “O.K., we can talk about what we did over summer break?”

    “Yeah, I guess,” I replied with a slight smile.

    “Cool, so Mandy, what’s your cousin like?” asked Josie as we walked toward the school.

    I smiled as I replied, “She’s pretty cool and she’s really friendly.  Hey Lucas, you met her before, right?”

    “Yeah, she was pretty nice,” replied Lucas. “So where’s Marshall?”

    “I don’t know,” replied Josie as we entered the school.  “I hope he’s still alive.”

    Both Lucas and I gave her a look.

    “I’m just joking, of course he’s still alive.”

    Lucas and I locked glances for a moment before we looked at Josie.

    “So how was your summer Lucas?” I asked as we walked down the hall.

    “It was O.K., I didn’t do much,” answered Lucas. 

    I looked him straight in the face.  He smiled at me and I smiled at him.  I turned to face Josie and waved bye before I went off to my first class.  I had English with Ms. Thompson.  I closed my eyes and hoped that the day would end soon.  It was English III and then I’d be off to art.
   
    I felt somewhat interested in Lucas, at least more than I showed him.  I wasn’t sure how he felt about me or if he cared at all, but I knew I did.

    I closed my eyes, untied my hair, let it drop to my shoulder before I entered the class.

    I felt confident that this year was going to be good, well at least better than last year.  I took a seat at the back and placed my backpack beside the desk.

    “Donna Fuse?” Ms. Thompson said as she looked around the room.  I closed my eyes and felt somewhat tired.  It was my third year in high school and next year I was going to be a senior. I was going to marry Lucas…. if he ever noticed me after high school.  I frowned at the prospect.  He was probably never really going to notice me period.  He was a good friend, but he was completely clueless.  I opened my eyes as Ms. Thompson called my name. 

    “Here,” I replied dully, not sure what else to say.  The first day was predictable and dull.  I closed my eyes again.

    I met up with my friends Marshall and Jess at break in the courtyard.  She wore a blue blouse and faded jeans.  She also wore a pair of old sneakers.  She had beautiful hazel eyes.  She never wore make up yet managed to look beautiful without it.  Marshall was a slender boy with dark brown hair.  He had dark blue eyes. He wore a sky blue shirt and somewhat faded jeans with dark gray shoes.

    The courtyard was a large space in the middle of the school.  Two buildings that housed the history and math departments flanked the courtyard.  Several trees were planted around this area to make it more relaxing.  The buildings here were built in the late 1950’s.

    “Hi Jess, Marshall; how are you guys?”  I asked with a smile.

    “Oh it’s been good,” replied Jessica with a slight smile.

    “I’ve been better,” replied Marshall.

    “Cool, I’m sorry about your aunt Marshall,” I said as I looked at him.

    “Yeah, I’d rather not talk about it,” said Marshall.  I knew something was wrong from his tone.  “So anyway, hey Jess, aren’t you a senior this year?”

    “Yeah, just one more year and I’ll be done,” she said with a grin.

    “Cool,” I said with a smile.  “So what are you doing after high school?”

    “I don’t know; I’d attend college I guess.”

    “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” he said.

    “Yeah, I’m sure you’ll do well,” I answered with a smile.

    “Gee thanks, so anyway how’s it going between you and Lucas?”

    “He still doesn’t notice me,” I replied with a frown.

    “I don’t understand why,” replied he as he looked directly at me.  I smiled at him and felt somewhat happy that he’s my friend.

    “So anyway, see you guys later,” I said as I headed toward my next class.  It was a normal day as usual.  I felt bored and somewhat distracted as I normally did.

    “Hey Mandy, wait up,” called Josie as I went out the front doors.  I turned and smiled as she sprinted to catch up.  “Hey Mandy, did you hear about homecoming?”

    I wasn’t sure what she meant, so I had no idea what to say.

    “It’s on Friday, which means we’ll have today to Thursday to get a date and hopefully something to wear as well.”

    “I see, so umm tomorrow, we’ll meet at Mr. LaVelle’s dress shop?”  I stated the obvious so not to sound distracted.

    “Yep, see you later then,” she said as she turned and walked down the street.   I frowned before I went home.   I hated to say it, but I had no idea who to take to homecoming.  I sighed a bit as I entered my home a few minutes later.

    I frowned as he lay on the sofa with a bottle of beer in one hand and the other clutching a blown out cigarette.  I took a deep sigh as I went down the hall toward my room.

#

    I closed my eyes as I stood in front of the dressing room mirror.  I opened my eyes slowly and frowned at what I saw staring back at me.  I shook my head, adjusted the dress straps and felt frustrated as I spoke.

    “Oh great, I look silly in this.”

    “No, you don’t look silly,” said Josie as she walked to my side. “I’m the silly looking one here.  You, on the other hand, look like a beautiful princess without her tiara. I look like a flattened apple.”

    I looked at Josie from the corner of my eyes.  I gave a half smile and whispered some encouragement to my red headed friend.  “I think you look lovely for a flattened apple.”

    I smiled as Josie shook her head as she turned her cheeks turned pink and she mumbled, “You think so?”

    “I know so, Josie, and just relax.”

    Josie mumbled her thanks under her breathe.  I smiled, turned and walked to my stall to the far right of the room, leaving Josie in my wake.  I stood still as I changed into my normal outfit.  I had to hurry before my shift started and my boss got mad.

    “Do you think I should get this dress?”  I asked from the stall.

    “Yeah, I think you should get it,” replied Josie.  I waited for Josie to get dressed before we went to the front counter.

    Mr. LaVelle’s shop was unique and somewhat small.  Theodore LaVelle, an old resident of Buena Veria, owned it.  He made the most beautiful and somewhat unique dresses that were always good for any occasion.  Mr. Theodore LaVelle was the oldest resident of Buena Veria.  He lived here since the 1900s when it was known by a different name.  He was lively for a man his age of 98 years old.  I met him a few times when I was younger.  Now he just stayed in his bedroom, which was above the main store.   I sometimes wondered if he was still alive or had just passed on the night before.
   
    “Hello,” said the cashier as we placed the dresses onto the counter. The cashier was a young man named Wesley.  He looked like he was in his late twenties.  He had bushy hair and never shaved.  He always wore gray no matter what.

    “How much is the dress?”  I asked as I pointed at the blue dress I wore earlier.  He smiled and said in his usual professional manner that, “The blue dress is about twenty-four dollars and the green dress costs twenty-six dollars; together the dresses are fifty dollars.”

    I took a deep sigh, took out my wallet, searched it thoroughly and handed Wesley a fifty-dollar bill.  He handed me a receipt, I thanked him and both me and Josie headed out the door.  I walked out of the door first, took a few steps outside to let Josie out before I spoke again.  My curious nature caused me to ask Josie if she and Marshall were going to homecoming.  For a while, I worried that he didn’t ask her yet.

    “Did Marshall ask you to homecoming yet?”

    She looked puzzled at my question.  I wasn’t sure why she looked puzzled or if it was really any need for worry.

    “No, not yet, but I hope so,” replied Josie.  She seemed very optimistic about Marshall, but I heard some doubt in her voice.  I wanted to cheer her up as much as possible. I smiled and spoke as confidently as possible.

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you, I mean I could see you two really like each other.”

    Josie said nothing as we walked down the street toward my house.

    “Bye Josie,” I said as I went inside. 

     I closed my eyes, placed my dress in my closet and went to work on my homework.  I had finished most of it before I went off to my shift.  I wore a yellow and red uniform to work.  I never really liked my uniform.  It was kind of too big for me.  The shirt’s sleeves were so long I had to tuck them up four times a night. The shoes were very uncomfortable to walk in.  I went to relieve Bob, an older fellow with a weird yellowish right eye. I usually tried to look at the ground when I relieved him.  I put on a fake smile and waited at my post as usual.   The customers here were either mothers with screaming children or really creepy old men with nowhere else to go.  It was rare for me to meet someone normal and or cute during my shift.

    “Hello, may I help you?” I said.   This was my only line until my shift ended at 9:00 p.m.  My shift was somewhat boring and I hated every minute of it.  It helped me with my college funds though I sometimes wish I didn’t have to worry about it.  But I then asked myself, who would worry about it?  Besides my father was a drunk and my mother was M.I.A. for god knows how long.  I frowned at these thoughts and felt disturbed by it.  Anyway, I closed my eyes and continued to work the register for a couple of hours.  It was a while before I went home.  It took a few minutes before I decided to go to bed.  The following morning seemed peaceful as I ate some breakfast.  I went to school a few minutes later.  Josie and I met near the school entrance.

    “So anyway, how’s it going Josie?”

    “I’m good,” she said as we entered the school.  I felt relaxed as I spoke to her about homecoming.

    “I’m not sure if Marshall will ask me out or not.”

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you out,” I said as we went along.  “I’m sure of it.  Besides I could tell these things when I see them.”

    She looked at me somewhat disappointed.  She whispered something I wasn’t able to hear.  I frowned not sure what to say.

    “Amanda,” said a familiar voice.  I looked up and there stood my government teacher.  He was a tall slender bald man with a thin goatee.  He had a friendly voice most of the time.  I never saw his angry side or knew if he had one.  “Amanda, I’d like to speak to you for a moment or so.”

    I looked from him to my friend as she went to leave.  My smile quickly faded to a frown. I wanted to stop her, but felt it was best not to.  I took a deep breath looked up at my government teacher as he motioned me toward him.  It was better to submit then argue with him.  I sighed a bit as I went to his room.

    “Amanda, about your grade in Government –”

    “Is it bad?”

    My worry slowly turned to fear.  It felt like he was going to tell me some bad news to confirm it.  My heart started to race as he uttered a response to my somewhat short question.  It wasn’t even a question at all, it was just three words period.

    “No, it’s good, really good actually. I was just wondering if you’d like to go into AP Government?”

    The worry I felt before was replaced by relief and more doubt.  Government never motivated me to become interested in it.  It was too complicated for me to understand. I didn’t want to ask it, but I had no choice. I wanted to get this over with quickly as possible without being rude.

    “Umm will it involve more work?”

    He smiled at me as I finished my sentence.  I wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but felt worried that he might think it was stupid or something.  He said the following in a gentle and caring voice.

    “In a way, it’s not that bad.  I mean you do have the grades for it, but it’s completely your decision.  So what you think?”

    I thought about it for a moment. My main concern was to whether accept or reject it.  It was something that my father could be proud of, but really would he actually take notice of it?  The answer swiftly arranged itself in my mind.  It was simple and easy to understand; I’m not interested period.  But in the end, all I could manage was one little statement.

    “Umm can I give you an answer later on?”

    I hated to lie to a teacher, especially to this guy.  He seemed really nice and caring.

    “Of course, sure, there’s no rush here.  I just want what’s best for you.”

    “Thanks,” I said as I went for the door.  I hated to admit it, but I never really thought government was that interesting.  It seemed more like a game of wills than anything else.  I closed my eyes, turned the doorknob and went out the door.  I did not want to admit to him that I’d prefer to study something worthwhile like English or something like that.   I’d rather read something by Emily Dickinson than about some old guy with radical ideas about government and how it should be.  In my opinion, I wanted something that I can could take part in and interrupt not debate about.  Debating was something I really didn’t like.  It was something I felt was pointless.  Most of my day was spent studying and doing work.

    I went home that afternoon tired all over.  As I entered my house, I noticed a well-dressed woman standing near the kitchen.  She smiled at me as she sat on the kitchen table.  My smile quickly changed to a frown at the sight of her suitcase.  My thoughts were confusing as I tried to figure out whom this was or if my father knew her.

    “Umm you must be Amanda, is that correct?”

   “Yeah, umm and you are?”

    “My names Gwen and I’m with Social Services.  I was going to speak with your father, but he seems unwilling to talk to me at this moment.”

    I wasn’t sure what to say.  My feelings were lukewarm at best.  It wasn’t that I hated my father, it was just I had no idea what Social Services was.  She smiled and I quickly frowned at her.  Something was wrong about it, I just knew it, but what was it?

    “Umm so…why are you here?”

    “I’m just wondering if you are being taken care of, that’s it.  So how is it going with you?”

    “I’m good though my father is always drunk and my mother is never here,” I said as I looked at the ceiling.  I hated to say it, but something about Gwen made me trust her.  My mind drew a complete blank.

    “I see,” she said as she went through her suitcase.   “Anything else you want to say?”

    I wasn’t sure what to say.  My thoughts told me not to rude.  It wasn’t in my blood to be rude to others. She seemed nice enough to trust.  Nothing can be taken seriously by expressions or gestures alone.

    “I’m not sure what you want me to say.”

    I told her the simple truth and felt somewhat relieved.  There was a small pause.  She smiled and spoke in a friendly manner.

    “Just say how your parents treat you and how you feel about them.”

    I frowned as I thought about what she just told me.  A million thoughts ran through my mind as I looked at her.  Was she really here?  Or was I just imagining her?  I frowned as I spoke up again.

    “Well, they’re never really here for me and I’d like some support from them, so yeah, I wouldn’t say they’re good parents.”

    She started to write down something on her notepad.  My mind was blank of things to say.  She wrote a lot from just one sentence.  I wasn’t sure how she could write that much based on so little.  My thoughts were confused about where this was going.  My eyes locked on her.  She seemed sort of friendly.  I felt like I knew her in a way.  There was a lot of uncertainty that made me question her.  It was hard to figure out what it was.  Something about her made me want to tell her everything about me.

    “So can I go now?”  I asked as I watched her.  My body felt tired and needed some rest.  This was too much and I’m afraid I can’t handle it.  There was a moment of silence.  I felt nervous that she might become angry or something.  She simply smiled and spoke with a friendly disposition.

    “Umm yeah, you can go now.  I have all I need.  Thank you Ms. Nash.”

    My eyes locked on her before I went.  Nothing from here on in was for certain.

Chapter 2

    I stood still on the stage, my head up, and my back as straight as possible without flitching.  The drama teacher looked me up and down, smiled, paced around me, smiled again and spoke with a thick English accent.  He was a charming man in a way.  I never really cared for him though. He was very honest and didn’t seem to think it would hurt anyone.

    “I suppose, you’ll have to do.  Now take a seat and we can choose the rest of the cast of performers as soon as possible.”

    I took a bow and walked off stage feeling a bit relieved as I went.  I took a seat next the new girl by the name of Mia.  She had long dark brown hair with light highlights.  Her style was simple; a navy blue shirt with a black pair of pants, she also wore a beautifully shined pair of tap shoes.  Something in her voice was deep and charming.  A voice interrupted my trail of thoughts.  I looked up and smiled as Marshall went toward us.  He seemed happy as he came toward us.  He wore a flannel shirt with somewhat new jeans.  I noticed he was wearing new shoes as well.  His hair seemed more cut than usual. 

    “What’s up?” said Marshall as he took a seat on the other side of me.  I waited a moment before I turned to face him, smiled and whispered, “Not Much.”

    “Umm did you get the part?” he asked.  I smiled and waited a moment before I spoke.  I always liked talking to him. He was like a brother to me.  I felt relaxed with him and he with me.  I guess it was because we knew each other more then I knew anyone else here.  I always thought that he had a trustful face.

    “Yeah, I got the part, it was hard standing straight without flitching for about five minutes or so.”

    “Yeah, I can tell,” he said with a warm smile.  “Umm so Mia, how’s it been?”

    “I’m good, it’s just I’m not sure if the drama teacher likes me or not.  I mean he seems to think I’m clumsy or hard headed for some reason.  I just feel a sense of condescension from him, even when he says nothing.”

    “He’s always that way toward new people,” I said with a smile, “Just ignore it and maybe next year, he’ll back off.  That’s what happened when I came here at first, and then the next year, he just went to another student.  He’s actually sweet once you get to know him.” I wasn’t sure if that was going to cheer her up.  I remembered how I felt when I was new here. I felt kind of like an outsider, but I got use to it after a while. I was glad that I wasn’t alone here though. I still had Jessica, Josie, and Marshall with me, which made adjusting here much easier.

    “Yeah, so anyway did Lucas ask you to homecoming yet?” asked Marshall.  I shook my head. I wanted to say yes, but Lucas wasn’t really getting any of my hints.  I frowned at the attempts and spoke softly.

    “No, I think he might be seeing someone else.  I just don’t know who or –”

    “Or maybe he’s waiting for the right moment?” said Marshall as he got to his feet.

    “No, he’s seeing someone.  I could tell he’s seeing someone else, and yet I don’t know who.”

    “Maybe he’s seeing Anika?” suggested Mia after a moment or two of silence.  I frowned at the comment.  I heard a lot of stupid things, but that was just plain stupid.  I knew Lucas and knew he would never fall for Anika.  Anika was annoying and self righteous.  She believed that she was right and others were wrong.  I hated her and hated to admit it, but maybe Mia was right.  I was never really able to read someone’s heart.  It was a mystery with an answer I really didn’t want to find out.

    “No,” I replied, “He doesn’t like Anika.  He told me himself that ‘Anika is a no good-”

    A large thud interrupted my sentence.  I looked up at the stage.  A young boy, probably a freshman, fell onto his rear.  I took a deep breath before I spoke again.

    “Anyway, I’m sure he wouldn’t date Anika.  I mean she’s the very definition of shallow and vain.  He wouldn’t choose her over me.”  I said this to prove something to the new girl and to me, but this wasn’t working at all.  I felt no truth toward these words.  “No, he has to be seeing someone prettier and smarter than me.”  Sure it was lying, but at least I made my point strong and clear.

    “Yeah, but still he’s not going to ask you out if you don’t ask first,” answered Marshall.  I frowned at him, but he smiled at me.  I wasn’t sure what he said or meant.  I heard Mia take a deep breath.  I looked at her.  She looked at me.  We just stood there looking at each other.

    “I think you should take each other to homecoming,” she blurted out after a moment or two.  I was about to look at Marshall, but turned my attention to Mia.

    Both Marshall and I answered, “What?”

    We looked at each other, frowned and went to class.  I walked toward my class not sure what Mia meant.  I hated to admit it, but she kind of had a good idea.  Why shouldn’t I ask Marshall out?  I paused at that question and frowned as I lingered on it.  I closed my eyes, chided myself before I continued to class.  I got rid of this idea before lunch, which was a mysterious stew that smelled like warm sock, mixed with seaweed.  I prayed it was chicken, not because it was better, but because it left a cleaner taste in my mouth.  I walked straight toward the cafeteria where I met up with Mia, Josie, Lucas, Marshall, and Jessica.

    “So anyway, luckily, I’ll get my license in a few weeks,” said Jessica as she ate her chicken sandwich with a slight grin.  I wasn’t sure what to say. I took a deep breath and waited a moment before I spoke.

    “That’s cool,” I answered as I looked at my chicken with disgust.  I took a bite and felt glad it wasn’t the stew.

    “Did you hear anything from your dad Jess?” asked Josie.  I saw and heard something odd about her voice.

    “Nothing, he’s still in jail,” replied Jess.  I saw that this made her feel a lot happier then normal.  I wasn’t sure to feel sorry for her or to congratulate her.  “And he’s staying there for all I care.”

    Mia frowned as she said, “Yeah, but –”

    “I’m 18 and legally capable of taking care of myself,” retorted Jessica with a lovely smirk on her face.

    “Umm but what about—” Mia paused in mid-sentence.

    “I’ve got that figured out, I took a job near the meat processing plant.”

    “Oh,” replied Mia as she looked up at me.  I frowned not sure what to say.  Jessica seemed content on not caring at all.  I just smiled and Mia said nothing for the rest of lunch.  I felt something toward this new girl.  She was kind and I kind of liked to be with her.  I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I just wanted to be friends.  I sighed a bit before I continued to try to finish my meal.

    Marshall asked, “So Lucas, who are you taking to homecoming?”

    “I’m not sure, maybe I should take Anika,” replied Lucas as he took a sip of soda.  I almost gagged at the news.  Josie patted me on the back before it was too late.  The piece of chicken flew out of my mouth and into Lucas’s hair.  He took the piece out of his hair and frowned.  I looked up from him to the far side of the cafeteria.  There stood Anika with her ‘friends’.

    “Mandy, are you O.K.?” asked Jessica as she looked at me.

   “I’m fine,” I lied as I looked at Lucas.

   “I’m just kidding,” he said with a smile as he looked at me.  I frowned at him as I finished my lunch.  The day went without further incidents.  I felt disappointed that he wasn’t serious about homecoming.  I closed my eyes and decided to ask someone else to homecoming.  If he did find someone it was probably for the best.  I was pretty obviously and very confident so why bother with just one guy?

    I went home after school.  I finished my US government homework after a while of page turning.  I then went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face and combed my hair before I went off to bed.  I turned off my lamp and went to sleep.  I woke up the following morning somewhat more relaxed than I was last night.  I got up, got dressed, and went to get some breakfast before school.  A few minutes past before I went out the door.  I closed my eyes and felt somewhat calm as I walked up the street.  I opened my eyes and decided to focus on my work rather then on other matters.  I decided it was for the best not to think of it.  I was hoping not to think of it at all.  I closed my eyes again and just pretended everything was all right.  It was best to pretend instead of wish.  A familiar voice interrupted my trail of thoughts.

    Mia asked, “Amanda, are you O.K.?”

    “Yeah, I’m fine,” I lied.  I hated to lie to Mia, but it was better than the truth, although now I wonder if it was really the best solution.  Jack told me never to lie unless it was a last resort.

    “Are you sure about that?”

    I looked her straight in the face.  I wasn’t sure if she knew I lied to her or not. I wasn’t sure of anything really about Mia.  I felt as though she could see through me with those beautiful eyes of hers.  I saw sorrow reflected in her expression mixed with peace and calm.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I turned away and simply walked off to school.  I felt depressed inside, but I didn’t want to show it.  I put up my façade as I normally did these days.  I smiled and just bear it.  I was going to study today and not to care about love or Lucas.  Lunch again, this time it was mystery chili.

    “To be blunt, I’d prefer my chili without the mystery,” said Marshall as he looked at his plastic spoon full of odd-looking chili.

    “I think it might be pig’s meat,” replied Lucas with a slightly gross expression.

    “I hope not,” I answered as I washed down the chili with some lemonade.  I hated pig’s meat.  I never liked the stuff.

    “Blah, that’s why I bring my lunch,” replied Josie.  I smiled as I looked at her.  I then looked at Mia.  She seemed distracted by something.  I wasn’t sure what to say to her. It was a week ago when she transferred to this school.  I met her a few days after her move to Buena Veria.  We talked a few days after the school year began.  She told me that her mother transferred from her previous office to the one here.  Her mother worked with Lincoln’s Armory, which provided weapons for the army.  The company had a large factory here, which was in need of a new manager.  We got along together so far.

    “Bye,” said Mia as we departed toward our next classes.  I spent most of the day studying and whatever.  I went to my job as I normally did.  I finished my shift somewhat earlier then usual due to lighting problems.  I met up with Lucas at my home.  I spent the rest of the night with him.

    “So how are you?”

    I smiled and replied, “I’ve been better.”

    He smiled at me and we continued to talk.

    “So anyway do you have a date for homecoming?”

    I paused at the question.  I wasn’t sure what to say. I wasn’t sure where this was leading, but had my feelings that it wasn’t good at all.

    “No, umm I’m still looking,” I lied as I looked at him.  I wanted to kiss him, but restrained myself.  I wanted to just ignore my feelings, but felt stupid for doing such an act.  “So what about you?”

    “Yeah, I’m still looking as well,” he said as he looked at me.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  Something about him was off.  I couldn’t put my finger on it though, but something made me feel uneasy.

    “So anyway,” I continued.  He placed his hand on my right cheek.  I felt something toward him as he looked into my eyes.  I smiled, not sure what to say.  I closed my eyes and wanted him desperately to kiss me.

    “Umm…wow look at the time,” he said as he looked at his wristwatch.  I smiled as he waved bye and went out the door.  I took a deep breath before I went to bed.  I woke up a few hours later.

    It was still dark out as I got out of bed.  I looked at my clock, which glared 4:55 a.m.  I frowned as I went to eat some breakfast.  I got dressed a few minutes later.  I went to work on some of last night’s homework.  I frowned as I read Lord of the Flies.  My mind wasn’t really into this reading.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I closed the book, checked my watch before I went out the door with my backpack in hand.

    I met with Mia half way between my house and school.

    “I’m just not sure if Lucas really likes me,” I said as I walked alongside Mia.  I wasn’t sure what else to say.

    “Does he seem interested at all?”

    I wasn’t sure what to tell her.  I wanted to say yes, but was that the truth? Did he really like me?  Or was I just hoping that he would?  I looked at her; man, she had beautiful eyes, which seemed to cut through me every time I looked into them.

    “Well did you ask him if he did?”

    “And ruin our perfect friendship?”

    “Nothing is perfect,” she answered.

    “I don’t know, I just don’t get him sometimes,” I admitted as we went along.  I looked up at the sky for a moment or so.  “I just don’t think we should ruin what we have.”

    Mia asked, “What is that?”

    “What do you mean ‘what is that?”

    “I mean what do you have?  If you don’t love him, then what is it?”

    “He’s a friend, that’s how I want it to stay,” I replied.

    “Maybe you two were never meant to be,” she suggested as we entered the high school.  I paused at the thought, maybe she was right.  I had my doubts and fears about Lucas and me.  I feared for the worst with him, but wasn’t sure why.  I looked at Mia again.  There was something about Mia that made me feel safe.  I wasn’t sure what it was.  I had this feeling with her that I didn’t have with anyone else.  Even Lucas wasn’t able to make me feel this way.  She made me feel confused and somewhat relaxed.  I’m not sure how to put it.  I had this feeling with her that made me want to be with her and not.  I might just be going insane or something.  I closed my eyes and quickly went toward my first class.  I wasn’t sure what to say as I went away.  I opened my eyes and hoped that the day would just end soon.  I went to my first classes trying to put this behind me.  I tried as hard as I could to get rid of these thoughts, but something continued to haunt me.  I lingered on these thoughts before I went to my last class.

#

    I went home as usual, but something made me feel nervous.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but something seemed off as I entered my home.  I entered the kitchen and there she was again.  Gwen was standing there with another person.

    “Hello Amanda,” she said as she motioned for me to seat down.  I took a seat opposite both Gwen and her friend. “Amanda, this is Henry.  Henry, this is Amanda.  Anyway, Henry would like to ask you a few personal questions.  I will leave you two alone so as not to distract you two.”

    She got out of her chair and went to the living room.  I frowned as I looked at Henry.  He seemed nice, well nicely dressed.  He had a clean suit, thin-rimmed glasses, well-groomed hair and a friendly face.

    “Hello Ms. Nash, how are you?”

    “I’m good,” I replied not really sure where this was going.

    “I’m here for your own protection Ms. Nash.  I’m here to make sure you are well taken care of.  It’s my job to see to it that you have a loving home.  I know that it might sound confusing, but I assure you that you’re not in trouble.  I just need you to ask you a few questions and hopefully find a new home for you.”

    I paused at what he said, “I beg your pardon?”

    “Ms. Nash, I’m with Child Protective Services.  I work to improve the lives of those in the community.  Now let us begin.  My first question is; has any of your parents beaten or threatened to beat you in any way?”

    I looked at him not sure what to say.

    “No,” I lied.  My father did beat me a few times, but that was when he was bored or really drunk.  He never threatened to beat me if he was able to do; he did so with no remorse.

    “I see, my second question; where is your mother?”

    “I don’t know,” I replied honestly not sure where she was.

    “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

    “No,” I said as I watched him write everything I said.

    “Do you have any relatives that live the area?”

    “My uncle George, but he left to serve in the Middle East.”

    “I see, so do you have any other relatives living in California?”

    “My cousin Rebecca in San Fran,” I said as I looked at him.  He was still writing as I answered his questions.

    “How old are you?”

    “I’m sixteen,” I said as I looked down at my shoes.

    “I see, well that’s all for now.”

    “I have a question,” I said as he organized his suitcase.

    “What is your question?”

    “Where is this going?”

    “My colleague explained that you were being neglected by your parents.  You stated that your father is a drunk and your mother is never around.  We believe that you need to be put into a proper household with loving parents.  I’m sure you’ll—“

    “So you’re going to put me in an orphanage?”

    “No, nothing like that; we are going to put you in the care of foster parents.”

    “What about my education? Will I still –?”

    “Don’t worry about it, we will let you still attend high school.  This is just a temporary assignment.  This is just until your father is willing to confront his drinking problems or until you reach 18 years of age.”

    He closed his suitcase and went to speak with his colleague.  I knew something bad was going to happen and now it did.  I looked at Gwen and Henry as they spoke to each other.  I went to my room and wanted to just runaway.  I wasn’t going to some forester home. I wasn’t going to do that.  I wasn’t going to be some hopeless child pitied by all.  I was going to be stronger then that.  I flung my backpack onto my bed.  I looked at the clock over my window, which continued to tick loudly as the minutes went by.  I took a deep breath and quietly slipped out of my house.

    I wasn’t sure what would happen to me after high school.  I wanted to be a chef after graduation.  I was a good cook.  I knew a lot about cooking.  I knew how to cook a mean for more then two people.  I was patient and very relaxed when I cooked.  I had some ideas for a restaurant somewhere quiet and peaceful.  I drew a design for my new place.  I was hoping to make it look like a peaceful French café.  I had no idea how to fund this, but was willing to do whatever it took to find a way to.

    Most of my teachers considered me optimistic and hopeful.  Most of my friends consider me patient and somewhat reliable.  I wasn’t sure how to define me.  I guess I would be considered optimistic because I saw something good in almost everything I did.  I saw hope in something hopeless, but sometimes this failed me.

     I closed my eyes as I went out.  I looked up at the sky. I felt a cold peace grow inside me.  I hated not knowing what to do.  It was sort of like a pet peeve of mine since I was six.  I took a deep breath and accidentally crashed into someone.  I fell onto my butt as papers flew everywhere.

    I looked up and saw a young woman as she said, “I’m sorry, are you O.K.?”

    “I’m good,” I replied as I helped her with her papers.  She had a lot of legal forms and papers.  She looked about three years older then me.  She had on a beautiful blouse, skirt and had on a pair of black high-heeled shoes.  “My names Amanda by the way.”

    “Hi, my names Michelle.”

    “Cool, see you around than.”

    “Here’s my business card so we can keep in touch.”

    “Thanks,” I managed as we departed.  I wished I could see her again, hopefully, when I’m in a better mood.

Chapter 3

    The following morning started calm as it normally did.  I went through my normal routine; dressed up and went out the door.  It was peaceful as I went.  My mind was focused on various things at the same time.  Mia was a topic I couldn’t avoid at all.  She was someone I wanted to talk to.  I had to think of my academic career as well.

    My thoughts were also on finding another job.  I never wanted to serve fast food.  It was a job that I didn’t want in the first place.  Sure it was a good job, but it wasn’t that interesting at all.

    Not much happened at the Lemonade Stand.  I accepted the job, because it was better than the latter, which was far worse.  It sounds stupid, but in my opinion, I had made the right choice.  The latter was something I’d rather not talk about.  I went to class not sure what I was forgetting.  I knew something was up, but I wasn’t sure why.

    “Hello,” whispered a somewhat familiar voice.  “Umm Amanda, are you O.K.?”

    I looked up, there was Sabrina and she looked concerned about me.  I always thought she had nice hair.

    “I’m good,” I said as I looked back at her.

    “O.K., good, now what about you and Lucas?  Did he ask you out yet?”

    “Not yet, I hope soon.”

    It was hard to focus on Lucas when someone had just died.  She was my friend, but I wasn’t much for talking about love.

    The teacher asked, “Amanda, Sabrina; is there something you two would like to add?”

    I frowned as I spoke, “Not really.”

    “O.K., can we stay on topic?  I’d like us to finish this lecture before lunch.”  She went back to her lecture.  I hated to say it, but I wished something would happen soon between him and me.  Sure, I wanted a happy ending with him, but somehow he didn’t want the same thing.  He was a good friend, but he wasn’t really there most of the time.  He was a dreamer and I was realistic.  It was hard to believe he didn’t like me more than just as a friend.  I was tired of it though.  If he wasn’t going to make an effort then why should I stay with him?  He was still my friend, it was just I gave him a lot of hints and he was as clueless as a child.  So that’s how it went, I guess.

    I felt close to Mia as the days went on.  She was a nice gal.  I liked her as if she were my sister.  Her personality was quite pleasant.  I told her things no one knew about me.  These things were my most private secrets that not even Marshall knew about.  I told her because she told me her secrets as well.  We said those little secrets as well about things that seem childish to me now.

    “I tend to prefer everything in its place,” I said as Mia and me went to school.  “I tend to panic when something is misplaced.  What about you?”

    “I tend to get nervous when I want to ask out someone for a date.  I usually make a few vowels and than I have to leave which is something I always hated about me.  I also never liked talking about myself to anyone at all.”

    I raised an eyebrow not sure what she just said.  She smiled at me and I smiled back.  She was a nice girl; I at least admit that much about her.  It was hard to say what she was trying to say sometimes.  She was able to speak fast without taking a pause or break for some air in between sentences.  I smiled to myself at the thought.  It was something in my life that seemed to make a lot of sense now.  I wasn’t really willing to tell her my deepest secrets just yet.  I just told her some secrets that most didn’t know yet.

    “I was wondering,” said Mia with a nervous smile.  “If you would like to umm go out with me to watch a few movies at my house?”

    I smiled not sure what to say.  It was a while since I actually had some free time and besides I had no real plans tonight.  I figured I’d say yes to it.  A smile played across my lips.

    “Yeah, that’ll be cool.  What time should I come over?”

    She smiled and seemed more relaxed.  I wasn’t sure why she was nervous to start with, but oh well.  I’m glad she’s my friend.

    “Uh how does eight sound to you?”

    “That sounds terrific,” I said as we went to different classrooms.  Most of my time was spent doing class work.  Sure it was a boring existence to most outside observers, but this was my life and I slowly accepted it.  I was a worker and nothing else mattered.  I worked for my teacher’s acceptance of me.  I was working to achieve something better than the others.  It was something called self-interest.

    I was considered pretty by most of the boys in my age group and even some younger boys thought that way as well.  It was flattering when Valentines Day came, but kind of creepy after that.

    I was considered a teacher’s pet and that damn prig by some of the most colorful characters of this school.  It was annoying how they’d make fun of my clothes as if I was invisible.  I felt sad, but I slowly accepted that I was better than them.  My future was clear and bright compared to those pot-smoking freaks.  I smiled at that thought.  They were failing while I was succeeding.  That thought made me smile and I felt more relaxed.  I was finally going somewhere.  Anywhere seemed better than this hellhole called Suburbia.

    I was tired of being labeled something because of my appearance or because I was smart.  Just cause I knew what a MG-41 was, doesn’t mean I was a prig.  It also doesn’t mean I was self-absorbed or all ‘about me’ either.  I wanted someone to like me for me, not for what I’m capable of doing.  It seemed cliché to explain this.  It’s hard to explain really what I was looking for.  Sure, it seemed easy to say that I was looking for someone who wanted to be with me, but there was more to it than just that.  I was hoping to find my other half in the simplest way to put it.  I wanted to find someone to care for, but who also cared for me.  I wanted my prince charming, but was tired of waiting for him.

    It was the waiting that was killing me.  I wasn’t going to wait forever though.  Eventually, I’ll give up on this pursuit.  Though if waiting was not going to help, I had to find him first.  I closed my eyes as I went to my next class in silence.  The world was too fast-paced for me. Technology was advancing to the point where you could have a music player slash phone.  People around me had cell phones that had the Internet and played music by their favorite artists and songwriters.  It was amazing to me how we as a species depend on such objects.

    It’s not that I don’t like technology or anything like that.  It’s not like I hate it all together.  I do like technology.  It’s something that helps me everyday.  I could do research while chatting on the phone with my friends on my laptop.

    My next class, Mr. B’s science class, was somewhat interesting.  I had to admit that about it. Mr. B always said, “science or the study of it is a never-ending process in which we discover more about the natural world.  We studied about minerals, which seemed cool to me, but somewhat lame to the rest of the class.  I decided to seem like I was bored like the others.

    I met up with some of my friends at lunch.

    “I’m nervous though about college,” said Jessica as I took a bite of my sandwich.  I wasn’t sure what to say.

    “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” answered Mia with a smile.

    “I hope.”

    “So anyway,” I said with a slight smile.  “I heard from Kyle that my boss will raise our pay by three bucks.”

    Marshall asked, “Did he say why?”

    “I’m not sure, although he mentioned something about our boss saying something about weekly profits.”

    “That’s good I guess, so umm I’m hoping to hear from my uncle next Tuesday.  He said he was going to be transferred to another air base somewhere in England.”

    I frowned not sure what to say, “Umm isn’t England usually cold?”

    He frowned as he spoke, “Not really, it’s mostly cold in London, but there are some nice places in the country.”

    I smiled and decided to change the subject.

    “So umm Marshall, did you ask Josie yet to Friday’s dance?”

    He frowned and I swore I saw something that resembled a melancholy expression flash my way.  “I’m not sure-no I haven’t asked her yet.”
    I paused not sure what to say.  It was hard to explain it, but something about his answer made me nervous.  I couldn’t put my finger on it though.  He wasn’t telling me something and that kind of scared me.  He was nervous when he answered my question.  I wasn’t sure what he was nervous about though.  Somehow I felt like this change of subject made him a little nervous.  So I decided to change the subject again.

    “So how’s your—”

    “I have to go,” he interrupted.  “See you guys around.”

    He walked away before I could say another word.  I frowned not sure what to do or what to say as he left.  He was nervous about something and I hated not knowing it.

    “I’m worried about him,” I said to no one in particular.

    “I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about,” replied Jessica.  “He’s probably just worried about something small.  I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.”

    “I hope you’re right.”

    “I’m sure of it, it’s probably some math test or something academic.  I mean he has complained about math before.  I did hear him say he was worried about getting a failing mark in that subject last week.”

    I doubted it was something that small.  He was probably worried about Josie.  I was worried about her too.  She was acting weird these days.  I wasn’t sure what to say about it though.  And besides if he was worried about math, than he’d tell me about it instead of walking away.  He knew I was good at math and would have asked me for help rather than avoid me.  I somehow wondered if he was really trying to avoid me on purpose.  It was hard to believe that he’d do such a thing.  He was my friend after all these years.  We were after all like brother and sister.  At least that’s how I felt about the matter.  Our friendship was simply brother to sister nothing more than that.  Sure, we had some interest in each other as more than that before.  We sometimes wondered if it was possible that we might have been more than just friends.  It didn’t work out in the end though.  We were two different people that weren’t right for each other.

    My smile slowly turned into a frown.  It made me realize that any real chances between us were hopeless.  We weren’t meant to be more than just friends.  I felt glad and somewhat melancholy about it.  My feelings were mixed between good and bad.  It was hard to just move to just one feeling when I somehow felt the other.  My hopes were that he did find something to get his mind off his troubles.  I was worried for him and sometimes worried about us.  A droplet of water hit me on the nose.  I looked up as clouds started to form above.  Several more drops hit me softly.  My body relaxed, the tension from most of my muscles disappeared and I just stood there.  I smiled before I let it out.  I screamed as loud as I could.  It made me feel alive standing there in the rain.  It was probably a bad idea, but I didn’t care.

    I started to laugh to nothing.  My body was more relaxed than it was throughout this whole week.

    “Amanda,” said a familiar voice.  I smiled as I turned to face a familiar face.  It was Mia.  She was standing under an umbrella looking at me with an odd smile.  It was as if she was glad to see me, but she thought I was mad or something at the same time.  I smiled at her confused expression.  “What are you doing?”

    “Nothing,” I answered her.  “How are you?”

    “I’m good, you should get out of the rain or else catch a cold,” she answered with a smile as she moved to cover me with her umbrella.  “How’s it going with you?”

    “I’ve never been better,” I answered honestly with a glow to my expression.  “So where you headed?”

    “I was headed home, but if you want, I can go home with you.”

    I smiled not sure what to say.  She was a sweet girl.  Her personality was amazingly easy to get along with.  She sometimes was annoying and sometimes hard to understand, but she reminded me of a little sister I never had.  She wasn’t younger than me about two months difference, but still she was about the same as me.  I sometimes called her ‘kid’ as a joke, but she never liked it.  I had to admit though, that she did have a point about her nickname.  It kind of made me smile to see her anyway.  I waited a moment before I said something.

    “Yeah, sure, I’d like that.”

    She smiled with those brown sorrowful innocent eyes.  She was definitely someone that I’d care for no matter what happened.  Her friendship was what mattered to me.  I placed my hand gently over hers.  Her hand shook and she looked away as I gently held her.  She seemed nervous.  I paused not sure what to say or what to do.  She was nervous about something.  She looked up at me, frowned and whispered, “Maybe this was a bad idea.”

    She turned and walked away.  I looked at her not sure what to say.  She was nervous about something and I wasn’t sure what it was.  I hated not to know.  It was something that made me annoyed.

    Maybe it was something I said?

    I froze at that thought.

    Yeah, she did seem nervous when you touched her.  Maybe she doesn’t like being touched by other girls?
 
    I frowned at that thought.  It was a silly one at best.  It wasn’t that simple.  Something made Mia nervous and I had no clue where to start.  So that was it, I went home not sure what to say or what else to do.  It wasn’t hard to believe that Mia was easy when it came to being shy.

    She seemed like a timid little bunny.  Her touch was gentle as well as her skin.  She was as pretty as a rose.  She was so like a rose, so gentle and fragile, yet so strong and determined.  Something about her kept my mind wondering toward the image of her.  She was now a part of me whether or not I liked it or not.  I had to admit, she was so unforgettable.  It was a while before I reached my house.  It actually took me a few minutes to reach my house, but it took me a while to actually enter it.  It was quiet as I went to my room.  I wish that my father wasn’t always drunk, though that ship had sailed a while back.  I took a shower, got changed, brushed my teeth and went to finish my homework.  I went to sleep after a while of work.

    I woke up, went downstairs before I heard it all.  I ran to the window. My father was outside drunk as hell.  He was carrying his shotgun as he stumbled about.  I frowned as I watched him stagger in all different directions.  It took a while before the police arrived.  I decided to rush to school rather than watch them manhandle my father into a nearby police car.  He was swearing as I sneaked out of this chaos.

Chapter 4

    Lucas told me to wait for him near the P.A.C.  He promised he’d be there. At first I
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2007, 05:48:58 pm »

First comments, will add more later as this is only on the first section. My comments are in the pink the rest of it is the story as it is in the previous post.

Chapter I

    My name is Amanda Emma Nash. I am a junior in high school.  I attend a really lame school named Buena Veria High.  I have long dirty-blonde hair; hazel eyes and somewhat white skin. Some of my older teachers comment that I have my grandmother Grace’s eyes and my grandfather Tom’s personality.         
                                                                                                                                                                   
    Buena Veria is a beautiful coastal city. Well technically it wasn’t a city as it is more of a suburb of L.A.  Tenses, you change from present to past, and try a coma instead of a full stop after city.

    My father was a drunk and my mother was always gone.  I never met my mother or knew why she left me.  I always wondered why she was never around.  My father usually was drunk and angry.  My father never really wanted me.  It didn’t really bother me.  Human nature was something I never really got.  I never understood it or cared for it that much.    Try I’d never met my Mother, and don’t know why she left me, I’ve always wondered why she is never around. Change was to is, use a comma after angry and use he instead of My father, the audience knows who you are talking about. Doesn’t instead of didn’t’.

    I met my first true friend in band camp.  He was a cute boy that I later grew to call my friend.  His name was Marshall Baker.  He was worried about his piano skills.  I listened to him play the piano.  He was really good for someone his age.  He was kind and very friendly to me.  I was able to tell him anyway without worry or care.  We dated a few years ago, but that failed in the end.  It was hard to say why we stopped dating.  We decided to stay friends instead. Too many short sentences, you can lengthen them easily.

    I met Jessica Nelson, my best friend, two years later.  She was about a year older then me.  I felt like she was my older sister.  She always looked very pretty especially when she wasn’t wearing make-up.  She grew out more than I did, if you know what I meant.  Let’s just say she was more curved than me.  She usually wore a pair of pants and a beautiful blouse.  She wore her hair in a ponytail for several years before she let it flow freely.  She had gone through four hair colors before she decided on a light blonde with black at the edges.  She showed me compassion, which I never felt before with my real mother.  She was kind of like a teacher, a mother and an older sister in one. Try she went through four hair colours before she decided…compassion, which I had never felt from my real mother.

    After I met Jess, I soon met the man who would be someone I really needed most; a father figure.  His name was Jack Nelson, Jessica’s grandfather.  He was caring and wise. He taught me to fight and to write.  He taught me how to draw as well.   Remove the most. After Jack Nelson try he was Jessica’s grandfather. Put a comma after write instead of a full stop.

    I soon met Josie Harris.  She became my wild side, the side of me that wanted to rebel.

    I met my high school crush as a freshman.  His name was Lucas and I kind of liked him more than just as a friend. OK, so far so good, not sure whats happening yet, but I’m not really into the story yet, I just about know the main characters, but suspect the plot has something to do with her home situation, or that that will be changed at some point.
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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2007, 02:09:18 am »

UPDATED: Sept 13, 2007

Chapter 1 -
   
    I woke up as I normally did, got dressed and went out to school.  It took me half an hour to decide on what to wear, so I decided to wear a peasant styled blouse, blue jeans and black shoes.  Today was going to be a calm California day.  The weather here was always the same - sunny and clear.  Sometimes I wished it would rain.  It was quiet as I went.  I looked down the street and quickly spotted Josie.  She was a short, red headed girl with a unique personality. She was friendly, but somewhat rebellious.  I never knew anyone like her from when I was a child to now.  She was always optimistic and caring.

    “Hey Josie!” I yelled as I ran to catch up.  “Josie!”

    She turned to face me.  She smiled and asked, “What’s the rush Mandy?”

   “I’m just excited about being back at school, aren’t you?”

    “No, I wish it was summer, this place always seems… how should I put it… dead to me.  I need something that makes me feel good rather than bore me to an early grave.  Thankfully, I’m not alone, anyway how was your summer?”

    I made a half smile and spoke softly as we went.  I went away for a few months to think and to regroup.

   I wanted to block out what had happened before summer vacation.

    One of my friends died two days before vacation.  It was hard for me at first, but I managed to cope with it, although it was especially hard for Marshall.  His aunt Eve died unexpectedly during our pre-summer pool party.  I tried to forget how she died.  I wanted to forget how she drowned in the local pool.  I never really knew she couldn’t swim.  I tried to comfort him as much as I could, but he was in shambles.

    I feared he wouldn’t get over this episode.  I decided to head off to my cousin’s place in San Fran.  I wanted Marshall to have some space for a while.  It was probably the only thing I could do for him at the time.

    “It was nice; I visited my cousin in San Fran.  We spent the rest of the summer exploring the city.  It was wonderful; I saw the bay and felt the ocean breeze through my hair.  It was amazing.”

    We had rounded the corner and dead ahead was the school.  In the distance, a crowd of people had already gathered.  Josie was about to speak when a distant voice interrupted her.

    “Hey guys,” yelled Lucas as he hurried over toward us from the other side of the street; where he had just been dropped.

    “Hey Lucas,” both Josie and me said in unison.  He met us at the school entrance.

    “So what classes do you guys have?” he asked Josie and me as we entered the school.

    Josie simply shook her head and muttered, “Can’t we talk about anything other than school?”

    “O.K., we can talk about what we did over summer break?”

    “Yeah, I guess,” I replied with a slight smile.

    “Cool, so Mandy, what’s your cousin like?” asked Josie as we walked toward the school.

    I smiled as I replied, “She’s pretty cool and she’s really friendly.  Hey Lucas, you met her before, right?”

    “Yeah, she was pretty nice,” replied Lucas. “So where’s Marshall?”

    “I don’t know,” replied Josie as we entered the school.  “I hope he’s still alive.”

    Both Lucas and I gave her a look.

    “I’m just joking, of course he’s still alive.”

    Lucas and I locked glances for a moment before we looked at Josie.

    “So how was your summer Lucas?” I asked as we walked down the hall.

    “It was O.K., I didn’t do much,” answered Lucas. 

    I looked him straight in the face.  He smiled at me and I smiled at him.  I turned to face Josie and waved bye before I went off to my first class.  I had English with Ms. Thompson.  I closed my eyes and hoped that the day would end soon.  It was English III first and then I’d be off to art.

    I felt somewhat interested in Lucas, at least more than I showed him.  I wasn’t sure how he felt about me or if he cared at all, but I knew I did.

    I closed my eyes, untied my hair, let it drop to my shoulder before I entered the class.

    I felt confident that this year was going to be good, well at least better than last year.  I took a seat at the back and placed my backpack beside the desk.

    “Donna Fuse?” Ms. Thompson said as she looked around the room.  I closed my eyes and felt somewhat tired.  It was my third year in high school and next year I was going to be a senior.  I was going to marry Lucas…. if he ever noticed me after high school.  I frowned at the prospect.  He was probably never really going to notice me period. 

    He was a good friend, but he was completely clueless.  I opened my eyes as Ms. Thompson called my name. 

    “Here,” I replied dully, not sure what else to say.  The first day was predictable and dull.  I closed my eyes again.

    I met up with my friends, Marshall and Jess, at break in the courtyard.  She wore a blue blouse and faded jeans.  She also wore a pair of old sneakers.  She had beautiful hazel eyes.  She never wore make up yet managed to look beautiful without it.  Marshall was a slender boy with dark brown hair.  He had dark blue eyes.  He wore a sky blue shirt and somewhat faded jeans with dark gray shoes.

    The courtyard was a large space in the middle of the school.  Two buildings that housed the history and math departments flanked the courtyard.  Several trees were planted around this area to make it more relaxing.  The buildings here were built in the late 1950’s.

    There was a rumor that there was a underground network of bomb shelters built in just in case the Russians decided to launch a nuclear attack. No one has found it yet.  I remembered that I found what appeared to have been a door inside the school gym.  It was made to look like a part of the floor, but if you looked at it carefully, it looked like a large door leading somewhere down.

    “Hi Jess, Marshall; how are you guys?”  I asked with a smile.

    “I’m honestly O.K.,” replied Jessica with a slight smile.

    “I’ve been better,” replied Marshall.

    “Cool, I’m sorry about your aunt,” I said as I looked at him.

    “Yeah, I’d rather not talk about it,” said Marshall.  I knew something was wrong from his tone.  I had a bad feeling that I shouldn’t have brought that up.  So I decided to change the subject on that note.  “So anyway, hey Jess, aren’t you a senior this year?”

    “Yeah, just one more year and I’ll be done,” she said with a grin.

    “Cool,” I said with a smile.  “So what are you doing after high school?”

    “I don’t know; I’d attend college I guess.”

    “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” he said.

    “Yeah, I’m sure you’ll do well,” I answered with a smile.

    “Gee thanks, so anyway how’s it going between you and Lucas?”

    “He still doesn’t notice me,” I replied with a frown.

    “I don’t understand why,” he replied as he looked directly at me.  I smiled
at him and felt somewhat happy that he’s my friend.

    “So anyway, see you guys later,” I said as I headed toward my next class.  It was a normal day as usual.  I felt bored and somewhat distracted as I normally did.

#

    “Hey Mandy, wait up,” called Josie as I went out the front doors.  I turned and smiled as she sprinted to catch up.  “Hey Mandy, did you hear about homecoming?”

    I wasn’t sure what she meant, so I had no idea what to say.

    “It’s on Friday, which means we’ll have today up until Thursday to get a date and hopefully something to wear as well.”

    “I see, so umm tomorrow, we’ll meet at Mr. LaVelle’s dress shop?”  I stated the obvious so not to sound distracted.

    “Yep, see you later then,” she said as she turned and walked down the street.   I frowned before I went home.   I hated to say it, but I had no idea who to take to homecoming.  I sighed a bit as I entered my home a few minutes later.

    I frowned as he (AKA my dad) lay on the sofa with a bottle of beer in one hand and the other clutching a blown out cigarette.  I took a deep sigh as I went down the hall toward my room.

#

    I closed my eyes as I stood in front of the dressing room mirror.  I opened my eyes slowly and frowned at what I saw staring back at me.  I shook my head, adjusted the dress straps and felt frustrated as I spoke.

    “Oh great, I look silly in this.”    

    “No, you don’t look silly,” said Josie as she walked to my side. “I’m the silly looking one here.  You, on the other hand, look like a beautiful princess without her tiara.  I look like a flattened apple.”

    I looked at Josie from the corner of my eyes.  I gave a half smile and whispered some encouragement to my red headed friend.  “I think you look lovely for a flattened apple.”

    I smiled as Josie shook her head as her cheeks turned pink and she mumbled, “You think so?”

    “I know so, Josie, and just relax.”

    Josie mumbled her thanks under her breathe.  I smiled, turned and walked to my stall to the far right of the room, leaving her in my wake. 

    I changed into my normal outfit.  I had to hurry before my shift started. 

    Or my boss would yell at me for being late again.

    “Do you think I should get this dress?”  I asked from the stall.

    “Yeah, I think you should get it,” replied Josie.  I waited for Josie to get dressed before we went to the front counter.

    Mr. LaVelle’s shop was unique and somewhat small.  Theodore LaVelle owned it.  He made the most beautiful and somewhat unique dresses that were always good for any occasion.  Mr. Theodore LaVelle was the oldest resident of Buena Veria.  He lived here since the 1930s when it was known by a different name.  He was lively for a man his age of 98 years old.  I met him a few times when I was younger.  Now he just stayed in his bedroom, which was above the main store.  I sometimes wondered if he was still alive or had just passed on the night before.

    “Hello,” said the cashier as we placed the dresses onto the counter.  The cashier was a young man named Wesley.  He looked like he was in his late twenties.  He had bushy hair and never shaved.  He always wore gray no matter what.

    “How much is the dress?”  I asked as I pointed at the blue dress I wore earlier.  He smiled and said in his usual professional manner that, “The blue dress is about twenty-four dollars and the green dress costs twenty-six dollars; together the dresses are fifty dollars.”

    I took a deep sigh, took out my wallet, searched it thoroughly and handed Wesley a fifty-dollar bill.  He handed me a receipt, I thanked him and both me and Josie headed out the door.  I walked out of the door first, took a few steps outside to let Josie out before I spoke again.  My curious nature caused me to ask Josie if she and Marshall were going to homecoming.  I worried that he didn’t ask her yet.

    “Did Marshall ask you to homecoming yet?”

    She looked puzzled at my question.  I wasn’t sure why she looked puzzled or if it was really any need for worry.

    “No, not yet, but I hope so,” she replied in a somewhat distracted tone.  She seemed very optimistic about Marshall, but I heard some doubt in her voice.  I wanted to cheer her up as much as possible.  I smiled and spoke as confidently as possible.

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you, I mean I could see you two really like each other.”

    Josie said nothing as we walked down the street toward my house.

    “Bye Josie,” I said as I went inside.  I closed my eyes, placed my dress in my closet and went to work on my homework.  I had finished most of it before I went off to my shift.  I wore a yellow and red uniform to work.  I never really liked my uniform.  It was kind of too big for me.  The shirt’s sleeves were so long I had to tuck them up four times a night.  The shoes were very uncomfortable to walk in.  I went to relieve Bob, an older fellow with a weird yellowish right eye.  I usually tried to look at the ground when I relieved him.  I put on a fake smile and waited at my post as usual.  The customers here were either mothers with screaming children or really creepy old men with nowhere else to go.  It was rare for me to meet someone normal and or cute during my shift.

    “Hello, may I help you?” I said.  This was one of many lines that I had until my shift ended at 9:00 p.m.  My shift was somewhat boring and I hated every minute of it. 

    It helped me with my college funds though I sometimes wish I didn’t have to worry about it.  But I then asked myself, who would worry about it?  Besides my father was a drunk and my mother was M.I.A. for god knows how long.  I frowned at these thoughts and felt disturbed by it.

    Anyway, I closed my eyes and continued to work the register for a couple of hours. 

    It was a while before I went home.  It took a few minutes before I decided to go to bed. 

    The following morning seemed peaceful as I ate some breakfast.  I went to school a few minutes later.  Josie and I met near the school entrance.

    “So anyway, how’s it going Josie?”

    “I’m good,” she said as we entered the school.  I felt relaxed as I spoke to her about homecoming.

    “I’m not sure if Marshall will ask me out or not.”

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you out,” I said as we went along.  “I’m sure of it.  Besides I could tell these things when I see them.”

    She looked at me somewhat disappointed.  She whispered something I wasn’t able to hear.  I frowned not sure what to say.

    “Amanda,” said a familiar voice.  I looked up and there stood my government teacher.  He was a tall slender bald man with a thin goatee.  He had a friendly voice most of the time.  I never saw his angry side or knew if he had one.  “Amanda, I’d like to speak to you for a moment or so.”

    I looked from him to my friend as she went to leave.  My smile quickly faded to a frown.  I wanted to stop her, but felt it was best not to.  I took a deep breath looked up at my government teacher as he motioned me toward him.  It was better to submit then argue with him.  I sighed a bit as I went to his room.

    “Amanda, about your grade in Government –”

    “Is it bad?”

    My worry slowly turned to fear.  It felt like he was going to tell me some bad news to confirm it.  My heart started to race as he uttered a response to my somewhat short question.  It wasn’t even a question at all, it was just three words period.

    “No, it’s good, really good actually.  I was just wondering if you’d like to go into AP Government?”

    The worry I felt before was replaced by relief and more doubt.  Government never motivated me to become interested in it.  It was too complicated for me to understand.  I didn’t want to ask it, but I had no choice.  I wanted to get this over with quickly as possible without being rude.

    “Umm will it involve more work?”

    He smiled at me as I finished my sentence.  I wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but felt worried that he might think it was stupid or something.  He said the following in a gentle and caring voice.

    “In a way, it’s not that bad.  I mean you do have the grades for it, but it’s completely your decision.  So what you think?”

    I thought about it for a moment.  My main concern was to whether or not to accept or reject it.  It was something that my father could be proud of, but really would he actually take notice of it?  The answer swiftly arranged itself in my mind.  It was simple and easy to understand; I’m not interested period.  But in the end, all I could manage was one little statement.

    “Can I give you an answer later on?”

    I hated to lie to a teacher, especially to this guy.  He seemed really nice and caring.

    “Of course, sure, there’s no rush here.  I just want what’s best for you.”

    “Thanks,” I said as I went for the door.  I hated to admit it, but I never really thought government was that interesting.  It seemed more like a game of wills than anything else.  I closed my eyes, turned the doorknob and went out the door.  I did not want to admit to him that I’d prefer to study something worthwhile like English or something like that.   I’d rather read something by Emily Dickinson than about some old guy with radical ideas about government and how it should be.  In my opinion, I wanted something that I could take part in and interrupt not debate about.  Debating was something I really didn’t like.  It was something I felt was pointless. 

    Most of my day was spent studying and doing work.

    I went home that afternoon tired all over.  As I entered my house, I noticed a well-dressed woman standing near the kitchen.  She smiled at me as she sat on the kitchen table.  My smile quickly changed to a frown at the sight of her suitcase.  My thoughts were confusing as I tried to figure out whom this was or if my father knew her.

    “Umm you must be Amanda, is that correct?”

    “Yeah, umm and you are?”

    “My names Gwen and I’m with Social Services.  I was going to speak with your father, but he seems unwilling to talk to me at this moment.”

    I wasn’t sure what to say.  My feelings were lukewarm at best.  It wasn’t that I hated my father, it was just I had no idea what Social Services was.  She smiled and I quickly frowned at her.  Something was wrong about it, I just knew it, but what was it?

    “Umm so…why are you here?”

    “I’m just wondering if you are being taken care of, that’s it.  So how is it going with you?”

    “I’m good though my father is always drunk and my mother is never here,” I said as I looked at the ceiling.  I hated to say it, but something about Gwen made me trust her.  My mind drew a complete blank.

    “I see,” she said as she went through her suitcase.   “Anything else you want to say?”

    I wasn’t sure what to say.  My thoughts told me not to be rude.  It wasn’t in my blood to be rude to others. She seemed nice enough to trust.  Nothing can be taken seriously by expressions or gestures alone.

    “I’m not sure what you want me to say.”

    I told her the simple truth and felt somewhat relieved.  There was a small pause.  She smiled and spoke in a friendly manner.

    “Just say how your parents treat you and how you feel about them.” 

    I frowned as I thought about what she just told me.  A million thoughts ran through my mind as I looked at her.  Was she really here?  Or was I just imagining her?  I frowned as I spoke up again.

    “Well, they’re never really here for me and I’d like some support from them, so yeah, I wouldn’t say they’re good parents.”

    She started to write down something on her notepad.  My mind was blank of things to say.  She wrote a lot from just one sentence.  I wasn’t sure how she could write that much based on so little.  My thoughts were confused about where this was going.  My eyes locked on her.  She seemed sort of friendly.  I felt like I knew her in a way.  There was a lot of uncertainty that made me question her.  It was hard to figure out what it was.  Something about her made me want to tell her everything about me.

    “So can I go now?”  I asked as I watched her.  My body felt tired and needed some rest.  This was too much and I’m afraid I can’t handle it.  There was a moment of silence.  I felt nervous that she might become angry or something.  She simply smiled and spoke with a friendly disposition.

    “Umm yeah, you can go now.  I have all I need.  Thank you Ms. Nash.”

    My eyes locked on her before I went.  Nothing from here on in was for certain.


Chapter 2

    I stood still on the stage, my head up, and my back as straight as possible without flitching.  The drama teacher looked me up and down, smiled, paced around me, smiled again and spoke with a thick English accent.  He was a charming man in a way.  I never really cared for him though. He was very honest and didn’t seem to think it would hurt anyone.
 
   “I suppose, you’ll have to do.  Now take a seat and we can choose the rest of the cast of performers as soon as possible.”

    I took a bow and walked off stage feeling a bit relieved as I went.  I took a seat next to the new girl by the name of Mia.  She had long dark brown hair with light highlights.  She looked, in my opinion, like a young Audrey Hepburn with a striking similarity to Anne Hathaway. Her style was simple; a navy blue shirt with a black pair of pants, she also wore a beautifully shined pair of tap shoes.  Something in her voice was deep and charming. 

    A voice interrupted my trail of thoughts.  I looked up and smiled as Marshall went toward us.  I noticed that he seemed happy.  He wore a flannel shirt with somewhat new jeans.  I noticed he was wearing new shoes as well.  He looked like he had his haircut recently. 

    “What’s up?” he said as he took a seat on the other side of me.  I waited a moment before I turned to face him, smiled and whispered, “Not Much.”

    “Umm did you get the part?” he asked.  I smiled and waited a moment before I spoke.  I always liked talking to him.  He was like a brother to me.  I felt relaxed with him and he with me.  I guess it was because we knew each other more then I knew anyone else here.  I always thought that he had a trustful face.

    “Yeah, I got the part, it was hard standing straight without flitching for about five minutes or so.”

    “Yeah, I can tell,” he said with a warm smile.  “Umm so Mia, how’s it been?”                                                             

    “I’m good, it’s just I’m not sure if the drama teacher likes me or not.  I mean he seems to think I’m clumsy or hard headed for some reason.  I just feel a sense of condescension from him, even when he says nothing.”

    “He’s always that way toward new people,” I said with a smile, “Just ignore it and maybe next year, he’ll back off.  That’s what happened when I came here at first, and then the next year, he just went to another student.  He’s actually sweet once you get to know him.”  I wasn’t sure if that was going to cheer her up.  I remembered how I felt when I was new here.  I felt kind of like an outsider, but I got use to it after a while.  I was glad that I wasn’t alone here though.  I still had Jessica, Josie, and Marshall with me, which made adjusting here much easier.

    “Yeah, so anyway did Lucas ask you out to homecoming yet?” he asked.  I shook my head.  I wanted to say yes, but Lucas wasn’t really getting any of my hints.  I frowned at the attempts and spoke softly.

    “No, I think he might be seeing someone else.  I just don’t know who or –”

    “Or maybe he’s just waiting for the right moment?” said Marshall as he got to his feet.

    “No, he’s seeing someone.  I could tell he’s seeing someone else, and yet I don’t know who.”

    “Maybe he’s seeing Anika?” suggested Mia after a moment or two of silence.  I frowned at the comment.  I heard a lot of stupid things, but that was just plain stupid.  I knew Lucas and knew he would never fall for Anika.  Anika was annoying and self righteous.  She believed that she was right and others were wrong.  I hated her and hated to admit it, but maybe Mia was right.  I was never really able to read someone’s heart.  It was a mystery with an answer I really didn’t want to find out.

    “No,” I replied, “He doesn’t like Anika.  He told me himself that ‘Anika is a no good-”

    A large thud interrupted my sentence.  I looked up at the stage.  A young boy, probably a freshman, fell onto his rear.  I took a deep breath before I spoke again.

    “Anyway, I’m sure he wouldn’t date Anika.  I mean she’s the very definition of shallow and vain.  He wouldn’t choose her over me.”  I said this to prove something to the new girl and to me, but this wasn’t working at all.  I felt no truth toward these words.  “No, he has to be seeing someone prettier and smarter than me.”  Sure it was lying, but at least I made my point strong and clear.

    “Yeah, but still he’s not going to ask you out if you don’t ask first,” he answered.  I frowned at him, but he smiled at me.  I wasn’t sure what he said or meant.  I heard Mia take a deep breath.  I looked at her.  She looked at me.  We just stood there looking at each other.

    “I think you should take each other to homecoming,” she blurted out after a moment or two later.  I was about to look at Marshall, but turned my attention to Mia.

    Both him and I answered, “What?”

    We looked at each other, frowned and went to class.  I walked toward my class not sure what Mia meant.  I hated to admit it, but she kind of had a good idea.  Why shouldn’t I ask Marshall out?  I paused at that question and frowned as I lingered on it.  I closed my eyes, chided myself before I continued to class.  I got rid of this idea before lunch, which was a mysterious stew that smelled like warm socks, mixed with seaweed.  I prayed it was chicken, not because it was better, but because it left a cleaner taste in my mouth.  I walked straight toward the cafeteria where I met up with Mia, Josie, Lucas, Marshall, and Jessica.
 
   “So anyway, luckily, I’ll get my license in a few weeks,” said Jessica as she ate her chicken sandwich with a slight grin.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I took a deep breath and waited a moment before I spoke.

    “That’s cool,” I answered as I looked at my chicken with disgust.  I took a bite and felt glad it wasn’t the stew.

    “Did you hear anything from your dad Jess?” asked Josie.  I saw and heard something odd about her voice.

    “Nothing, he’s still in jail,” replied Jess.  I saw that this made her feel a lot happier then normal.  I wasn’t sure to feel sorry for her or to congratulate her.  “And he’s staying there for all I care.”

    Mia frowned as she said, “Yeah, but –”

    “I’m 18 and legally capable of taking care of myself,” retorted Jessica with a lovely smirk on her face.

    “Umm but what about—” Mia paused in mid-sentence.

    “I’ve got that figured out, I took a job near the meat processing plant.”

    “Oh,” replied Mia as she looked up at me.  I frowned not sure what to say.  Jessica seemed content on not caring at all.  I just smiled and Mia said nothing for the rest of lunch.  I felt something toward this new girl.  She was kind and I kind of liked to be with her.  I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I just wanted to be friends.  I sighed a bit before I continued to try to finish my meal.

    Marshall asked, “So Lucas, who are you taking to homecoming?”

    “I’m not sure, maybe I should take Anika,” he replied as he took a sip of soda.  I almost gagged at the news.  Josie patted me on the back before it was too late.  The piece of chicken flew out of my mouth and into Lucas’s hair.  He took the piece out of his hair and frowned.  I looked up from him to the far side of the cafeteria.  There stood Anika with her ‘friends’.  She was a tall somewhat skinny blonde with really ugly hair and a disturbing sense of style.  Her image just screamed vain and shallow period.  She loved spreading rumors about anything.  Someone’s pain was her gain.

    “Mandy, are you O.K.?” asked Jessica as she looked at me.

    “I’m fine,” I lied as I looked at Lucas.

    “I’m just kidding,” he said with a smile as he looked at me.  I frowned at him as I finished my lunch.  The day went without further incidents.  I felt disappointed that he wasn’t serious about homecoming.  I closed my eyes and decided to ask someone else to homecoming.  If he did find someone it was probably for the best.  I was pretty obviously and very confident so why bother with just one guy?

    I went home after school.  I finished my US government homework after a while of page turning.  I then went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face and combed my hair before I went off to bed.  I turned off my lamp and went to sleep. 

    I woke up the following morning somewhat more relaxed than I was last night.  I got up, got dressed, and went to get some breakfast before school.  A few minutes past before I went out the door.  I closed my eyes and felt somewhat calm as I walked up the street.  I opened my eyes and decided to focus on my work rather then on other matters.  I decided it was for the best not to think of it.  I was hoping not to think of it at all.  I closed my eyes again and just pretended everything was all right.  It was best to pretend instead of wish.  A familiar voice interrupted my trail of thoughts.

    Mia asked, “Amanda, are you O.K.?”

    “Yeah, I’m fine,” I lied.  I hated to lie to Mia, but it was better than the truth, although now I wonder if it was really the best solution.  Jack told me never to lie unless it was a last resort.

    “Are you sure about that?”

    I looked her straight in the face.  I wasn’t sure if she knew I lied to her or not.  I wasn’t sure of anything really about Mia.  I felt as though she could see through me with those beautiful eyes of hers.  I saw sorrow reflected in her expression mixed with peace and calm.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I turned away and simply walked off to school.  I felt depressed inside, but I didn’t want to show it.  I put up my façade as I normally did these days.  I smiled and just bear it.  I was going to study today and not to care about love or Lucas.  Lunch again, this time it was mystery chili.

    “To be blunt, I’d prefer my chili without the mystery,” said Marshall as he looked at his plastic spoon full of odd-looking chili.

    “I think it might be pig’s meat,” replied Lucas with a slightly gross expression.

    “I hope not,” I answered as I washed down the chili with some lemonade.  I hated pig’s meat.  I never liked the stuff.

    “Blah, that’s why I bring my lunch,” replied Josie.  I smiled as I looked at her.  I then looked at Mia.  She seemed distracted by something.  I wasn’t sure what to say to her. It was a week ago when she transferred to this school.  I met her a few days after her move to Buena Veria.  We talked a few days before the school year began.  She told me that her mother transferred from her previous office to the one here.  Her mother worked with Lincoln’s Armory, which provided weapons for the army.  The company had a large factory here, which was in need of a new manager.  We got along together so far.

    “Bye,” said Mia as we departed toward our next classes.  I spent most of the day studying and whatever.  I went to my job as I normally did.  I finished my shift somewhat earlier then usual due to lighting problems.  I met up with Lucas at my home.  I spent the rest of the night with him.

    “So how are you?”

    I smiled and replied, “I’ve been better.”

    He smiled at me and we continued to talk.

    “So anyway do you have a date for homecoming?”

    I paused at the question.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I wasn’t sure where this was leading, but had my feelings that it wasn’t good at all.

    “No, umm I’m still looking,” I lied as I looked at him.  I wanted to kiss him, but restrained myself.  I wanted to just ignore my feelings, but felt stupid for doing such an act.  “So what about you?”

    “Yeah, I’m still looking as well,” he said as he looked at me.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  Something about him was off.  I couldn’t put my finger on it though, but something made me feel uneasy.

    “So anyway,” I continued.  He placed his hand on my right cheek.  I felt something toward him as he looked into my eyes.  I smiled, not sure what to say.  I closed my eyes and wanted him desperately to kiss me.

    “Umm…wow look at the time,” he said as he looked at his wristwatch.  I smiled as he waved bye and went out the door.  I took a deep breath before I went to bed. 

    I woke up a few hours later.

    It was still dark out as I got out of bed.  I looked at my clock, which glared 4:55 a.m.  I frowned as I went to eat some breakfast.  I got dressed a few minutes later.  I went to work on some of last night’s homework.  I frowned as I read Lord of the Flies.  My mind wasn’t really into this reading.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I closed the book, checked my watch before I went out the door with my backpack in hand.

    I met with Mia half way between my house and school.

    “I’m just not sure if Lucas really likes me,” I said as I walked alongside Mia.  I wasn’t sure what else to say.

    “Does he seem interested at all?”

    I wasn’t sure what to tell her.  I wanted to say yes, but was that the truth? Did he really like me?  Or was I just hoping that he would?  I looked at her; man, she had beautiful eyes, which seemed to cut through me every time I looked into them.

    “Well did you ask him if he did?”

    “And ruin our perfect friendship?”

    “Nothing is perfect,” she answered.

    “I don’t know, I just don’t get him sometimes,” I admitted as we went along.  I looked up at the sky for a moment or so.  “I just don’t think we should ruin what we have.”

    Mia asked, “What is that?”

    “What do you mean ‘what is that?”

    “I mean what do you have?  If you don’t love him, then what is it?”

    “He’s a friend, that’s how I want it to stay,” I replied.

    “Maybe you two were never meant to be,” she suggested as we entered the high school.  I paused at the thought, maybe she was right.  I had my doubts and fears about Lucas and me.  I feared for the worst with him, but wasn’t sure why. 

    I looked at Mia again.  There was something about Mia that made me feel safe.  I wasn’t sure what it was.  I had this feeling with her that I didn’t have with anyone else.  Even Lucas wasn’t able to make me feel this way.  She made me feel confused and relaxed.  I’m not sure how to put it.  I had this feeling with her that made me want to be with her and not. 

    I might just be going insane or something.  I closed my eyes and quickly went toward my first class.  I wasn’t sure what to say as I went.  I opened my eyes and hoped that the day would just end soon.  I went to my first classes trying to put this behind me.  I tried as hard as I could to get rid of these thoughts, but something continued to haunt me.

    My daydreams were changing as well as my feelings toward the people around me.  I sometimes daydreamed about Mia and me just sitting in a living room talking about things. Nothing really ground breaking about it, but I wanted to kiss her and to be with her.

#

    I went home as usual, but something made me feel nervous.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but something seemed off as I entered my home.  I entered the kitchen and there she was again.  Gwen was standing there with another person.

    “Hello Amanda,” she said as she motioned for me to seat down.  I took a seat opposite both Gwen and her friend. “Amanda, this is Henry.  Henry, this is Amanda.  Anyway, Henry would like to ask you a few personal questions.  I will leave you two alone so as not to distract you two.”
 
   She got out of her chair and went to the living room.  I frowned as I looked at Henry.  He seemed nice, well nicely dressed.  He had a clean suit, thin-rimmed glasses, well-groomed hair and a friendly face.

    “Hello Ms. Nash, how are you?”

    “I’m good,” I replied not really sure where this was going.

    “I’m here for your own protection Ms. Nash.  I’m here to make sure you are well taken care of.  It’s my job to see to it that you have a loving home.  I know that it might sound confusing, but I assure you that you’re not in trouble.  I just need you to ask you a few questions and hopefully find a new home for you.”

    I paused at what he said, “I beg your pardon?”

    “Ms. Nash, I’m with Child Protective Services.  I work to improve the lives of those in the community.  Now let us begin.  My first question is; has any of your parents beaten or threatened to beat you in any way?”

    I looked at him not sure what to say.
 
   “No,” I lied.  My father did beat me a few times, but that was when he was bored or really drunk.  He never threatened to beat me if he was able to do; he did so with no remorse.

    “I see, my second question; where is your mother?”

    “I don’t know,” I replied honestly not sure where she was.

    “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

    “No,” I said as I watched him write everything I said.

    “Do you have any relatives that live in the area?”

    “My uncle George, but he left to serve in the Middle East.”

    “I see, so do you have any other relatives living in California?”

    “My cousin Rebecca in San Fran,” I said as I looked at him.  He was still writing as I answered his questions.

    “How old are you?”

    “I’m sixteen,” I said as I looked down at my shoes.

    “I see, well that’s all for now.”

    “I have a question,” I said as he organized his suitcase.

    “What is your question?”

    “Where is this going?”

    “My colleague explained that you were being neglected by your parents.  You stated that your father is a drunk and your mother is never around.  We believe that you need to be put into a proper household with loving parents.  I’m sure you’ll—“

    “So you’re going to put me in an orphanage?”

    “No, nothing like that; we are going to put you in the care of foster parents.”

    “What about my education? Will I still –?”
 
   “Don’t worry about it, we will let you still attend high school.  This is just a temporary assignment.  This is just until your father is willing to confront his drinking problems or until you reach 18 years of age.”

    He closed his suitcase and went to speak with his colleague.  I knew something bad was going to happen and now it did.  I looked at Gwen and Henry as they spoke to each other. 

    I went to my room and wanted to just runaway.  I wanted to not go to some forester home.  I wasn’t going to do that.  I wasn’t going to be some hopeless child pitied by all.  I was going to be stronger then that.  I flung my backpack onto my bed.  I looked at the clock over my window, which continued to tick loudly as the minutes went by.  I took a deep breath and quietly slipped out of my house.

    I wasn’t sure what would happen to me after high school.  I wanted to be a chef after graduation.  I was a good cook.  I knew a lot about cooking.  I knew how to cook a really good baked potato.  I was patient and very relaxed when I cooked.  I had some ideas for a restaurant somewhere quiet and peaceful.  I drew a design for my new place.  I was hoping to make it look like a peaceful French café.  I had no idea how to fund this, but was willing to do whatever it took to find a way to.

    Most of my teachers considered me optimistic and hopeful.  Most of my friends consider me patient and somewhat reliable.  I wasn’t sure how to define me.  I guess I would be considered optimistic because I saw something good in almost everything I did.  I saw hope in something hopeless, but sometimes this failed me.

    I closed my eyes as I went out.  I looked up at the sky. I felt a cold peace grow inside me.  I hated not knowing what to do.  It was sort of like a pet peeve of mine since I was six.  I took a deep breath and accidentally crashed into someone.  I fell onto my butt as papers flew everywhere.

    I looked up and saw a young woman as she said, “I’m sorry, are you O.K.?”

    “I’m good,” I replied as I helped her with her papers.  She had a lot of legal forms and papers.  She looked about three years older then me.  She had on a beautiful blouse, skirt and had on a pair of black high-heeled shoes.  “My names Amanda by the way.”

    “Hi, my names Michelle.”

    “Cool, see you around than.”

    “Here’s my business card so we can keep in touch.”

    “Thanks,” I managed as we departed.  I wished I could see her again, hopefully, when I’m in a better mood.

To be continued
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2007, 06:49:51 pm »

Updated Ch 1: Thrusday, 20 of  September 2007

Chapter 1
   
   Buena Veria is a beautiful coastal city; well technically it wasn’t a city as it is more of a suburb of L.A.  Los Angeles sits to the north while Torrance sits to the south.

    My name is Amanda Emma Nash and I attend in Buena Veria high school.  I have long dirty-blonde hair; hazel eyes and somewhat white skin.  I have my grandmother Emma’s eyes and my grandfather Tom’s personality.  My favorite food is tuna, don’t ask, and I have a strong dislike for pickles, which I never grew out of.                                                                                                                                                                             

    My father was a drunk.  I’d never met my mother, and don’t know why she left me, I always wondered why she was never around.  He usually was drunk and angry.  He never really wanted me.  It doesn’t really bother me.  Human nature was something I never really got, I never understood it or cared for it that much.   

    I soon met a man named Jack Nelson; he was Jessica’s grandfather.  He was caring and wise.  He was like the father I never had.

#

    I woke up as I normally did, got dressed and went out to school.  It took me half an hour to decide on what to wear, so I decided to wear a peasant styled blouse, blue jeans and black shoes.  Today was going to be a calm California day.  The weather here was always the same - sunny and clear.  Sometimes I wished it would rain. 

    It was quiet as I went.  I looked down the street and quickly spotted Josie.  Josie Harris was my wild side, the side of me that wanted to rebel. She was a free spirited short red headed girl who spoke her mind always.  She was a short, red headed girl with a unique personality. She was friendly, but somewhat rebellious.  I never knew anyone like her from when I was a child to now.  She was always optimistic and caring.

    “Hey Josie!” I yelled as I ran to catch up.  “Josie!”

    She turned to face me.  She smiled and asked, “What’s the rush Mandy?”

   “I’m just excited about being back at school, aren’t you?”

    “No, I wish it was summer, this place always seems… how should I put it… dead to me.  I need something that makes me feel good rather than bore me to an early grave.  Thankfully, I’m not alone, anyway how was your summer?”

    I made a half smile and spoke softly as we went.  I went away for a few months to think and to regroup.

   I wanted to block out what had happened before summer vacation.

    One of my friends died two days before vacation.  It was hard for me at first, but I managed to cope with it, although it was especially hard for Marshall.  His aunt Eve died unexpectedly during our pre-summer pool party.  I tried to forget how she died.  I wanted to forget how she drowned in the local pool.  I never really knew she couldn’t swim.  I tried to comfort him as much as I could, but he was in shambles.

    I feared he wouldn’t get over this episode.  I decided to head off to my cousin’s place in San Fran.  I wanted Marshall to have some space for a while.  It was probably the only thing I could do for him at the time.

    I first met Marshall Baker at band camp.  He was a cute boy that I later grew to call my friend. 

    I remembered the first time I met him.  Well, actually I didn’t see him, cause he was caring a large suitcase at the time.

    I went up to him from behind and asked, “Do you need help?”

    He replied, “No thanks, I’m fine.” He fell onto his suitcase.  I wanted to laugh, but figured it was better not to.

    He told me he was worried about his piano skills during our first class together; once I had listened to him play the piano. He played a few notes, which were amazingly better, then, my performance. 

    He was kind and very friendly to me.  I was able to tell him anyway without worry or care.  We dated a few years ago, but that failed in the end, although we decided to stay friends instead.

    “It was nice; I visited my cousin in San Fran.  We spent the rest of the summer exploring the city.  It was wonderful; I saw the bay and felt the ocean breeze through my hair.  It was amazing.”

    We had rounded the corner and dead ahead was the school.  In the distance, a crowd of people had already gathered.  Josie was about to speak when a distant voice interrupted her.

    “Hey guys,” yelled Lucas as he hurried over toward us from the other side of the street; where he had just been dropped.  I met him as a freshman.  I kind of liked him more than just as a friend.  He was really cute and fun to talk to.

    “Hey Lucas,” both Josie and me said in unison.  He met us at the school entrance.

    “So what classes do you guys have?” he asked Josie and me as we entered the school.

    Josie simply shook her head and muttered, “Can’t we talk about anything other than school?”

    “O.K., we can talk about what we did over summer break?”

    “Yeah, I guess,” I replied with a slight smile.

    “Cool, so Mandy, what’s your cousin like?” asked Josie as we walked toward the school.

    I smiled as I replied, “She’s pretty cool and she’s really friendly.  Hey Lucas, you met her before, right?”

    “Yeah, she was pretty nice,” replied Lucas. “So where’s Marshall?”

    “I don’t know,” replied Josie as we entered the school.  “I hope he’s still alive.”

    Both Lucas and I gave her a look.

    “I’m just joking, of course he’s still alive.”

    Lucas and I locked glances for a moment before we looked at Josie.

    “So how was your summer Lucas?” I asked as we walked down the hall.

    “It was O.K., I didn’t do much,” answered Lucas. 
I looked him straight in the face.  He smiled at me and I smiled at him.  I turned to face Josie and waved bye before I went off to my first class.  I had English with Ms. Thompson.  I closed my eyes and hoped that the day would end soon.  It was English III first and then I’d be off to art.

    I felt somewhat interested in Lucas, at least more than I showed him.  I wasn’t sure how he felt about me or if he cared at all, but I knew I did.

    I closed my eyes, untied my hair, let it drop to my shoulder before I entered the class.

    I felt confident that this year was going to be good, well at least better than last year.  I took a seat at the back and placed my backpack beside the desk.

    “Donna Fuse?” Ms. Thompson said as she looked around the room.  I closed my eyes and felt somewhat tired.  It was my third year in high school and next year I was going to be a senior.  I was going to marry Lucas…. if he ever noticed me after high school.  I frowned at the prospect.  He was probably never really going to notice me period. 

    He was a good friend, but he was completely clueless.  I opened my eyes as Ms. Thompson called my name. 

    “Here,” I replied dully, not sure what else to say.  The first day was predictable and dull.  I closed my eyes again.

    I met up with my friends, Marshall and Jess, at break in the courtyard.  She wore a blue blouse and faded jeans.  She also wore a pair of old sneakers.  She had beautiful hazel eyes.  She never wore make up yet managed to look beautiful without it. 

    I met Jessica Nelson, my best friend, two years after I met Marshall.  She was about a year older then me.  I felt like she was my older sister.  She always looked very pretty especially when she wasn’t wearing make-up.  She grew out more than I did, if you know what I meant.  Let’s just say she was more curved than me.  She usually wore a pair of pants and a beautiful blouse.  She was kind of like a teacher, a mother and an older sister in one.

    Marshall was a slender boy with dark brown hair.  He had dark blue eyes.  He wore a sky blue shirt and somewhat faded jeans with dark gray shoes.

    The courtyard was a large space in the middle of the school.  Two buildings that housed the history and math departments flanked the courtyard.  Several trees were planted around this area to make it more relaxing.  The buildings here were built in the late 1950’s.

    There was a rumor that there was a underground network of bomb shelters built in just in case the Russians decided to launch a nuclear attack. No one has found it yet. 

    “Hi Jess, Marshall; how are you guys?”  I asked with a smile.

    “I’m honestly O.K.,” replied Jessica with a slight smile.

    “I’ve been better,” replied Marshall.

    “Cool, I’m sorry about your aunt,” I said as I looked at him.

    “Yeah, I’d rather not talk about it,” said Marshall.  I knew something was wrong from his tone.  I had a bad feeling that I shouldn’t have brought that up.  So I decided to change the subject on that note.  “So anyway, hey Jess, aren’t you a senior this year?”

    “Yeah, just one more year and I’ll be done,” she said with a grin.

    “Cool,” I said with a smile.  “So what are you doing after high school?”

    “I don’t know; I’d attend college I guess.”

    “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” he said.

    “Yeah, I’m sure you’ll do well,” I answered with a smile.

    “Gee thanks, so anyway how’s it going between you and Lucas?”

    “He still doesn’t notice me,” I replied with a frown.

    “I don’t understand why,” he replied as he looked directly at me.  I smiled at him and felt somewhat happy that he’s my friend.

    “So anyway, see you guys later,” I said as I headed toward my next class.  It was a normal day as usual.  I felt bored and somewhat distracted as I normally did.

#

    “Hey Mandy, wait up,” called Josie as I went out the front doors.  I turned and smiled as she sprinted to catch up.  “Hey Mandy, did you hear about homecoming?”

    I wasn’t sure what she meant, so I had no idea what to say.

    “It’s on Friday, which means we’ll have today up until Thursday to get a date and hopefully something to wear as well.”

    “I see, so umm tomorrow, we’ll meet at Mr. LaVelle’s dress shop?”  I stated the obvious so not to sound distracted.

    “Yep, see you later then,” she said as she turned and walked down the street.   I frowned before I went home.   I hated to say it, but I had no idea who to take to homecoming.  I sighed a bit as I entered my home a few minutes later.

    I frowned as he (AKA my dad) lay on the sofa with a bottle of beer in one hand and the other clutching a blown out cigarette.  I took a deep sigh as I went down the hall toward my room.

#

    I closed my eyes as I stood in front of the dressing room mirror.  I opened my eyes slowly and frowned at what I saw staring back at me.  I shook my head, adjusted the dress straps and felt frustrated as I spoke.

    “Oh great, I look silly in this.”    

    “No, you don’t look silly,” said Josie as she walked to my side. “I’m the silly looking one here.  You, on the other hand, look like a beautiful princess without her tiara.  I look like a flattened apple.”

    I looked at Josie from the corner of my eyes.  I gave a half smile and whispered some encouragement to my red headed friend.  “I think you look lovely for a flattened apple.”

    I smiled as Josie shook her head as her cheeks turned pink and she mumbled, “You think so?”

    “I know so, Josie, and just relax.”

    Josie mumbled her thanks under her breathe.  I smiled, turned and walked to my stall to the far right of the room, leaving her in my wake. 

    I changed into my normal outfit.  I had to hurry before my shift started. 

    Or my boss would yell at me for being late again.

    “Do you think I should get this dress?”  I asked from the stall.

    “Yeah, I think you should get it,” replied Josie.  I waited for Josie to get dressed before we went to the front counter.

    Mr. LaVelle’s shop was unique and somewhat small.  Theodore LaVelle owned it.  He made the most beautiful and somewhat unique dresses that were always good for any occasion.  Mr. Theodore LaVelle was the oldest resident of Buena Veria.  He lived here since the 1930s when it was known by a different name.  He was lively for a man his age of 98 years old.  I met him a few times when I was younger.  Now he just stayed in his bedroom, which was above the main store.  I sometimes wondered if he was still alive or had just passed on the night before.

    “Hello,” said the cashier as we placed the dresses onto the counter.  The cashier was a young man named Wesley.  He looked like he was in his late twenties.  He had bushy hair and never shaved.  He always wore gray no matter what.

    “How much is the dress?”  I asked as I pointed at the blue dress I wore earlier.  He smiled and said in his usual professional manner that, “The blue dress is about twenty-four dollars and the green dress costs twenty-six dollars; together the dresses are fifty dollars.”

    I took a deep sigh, took out my wallet, searched it thoroughly and handed Wesley a fifty-dollar bill.  He handed me a receipt, I thanked him and both me and Josie headed out the door.  I walked out of the door first, took a few steps outside to let Josie out before I spoke again.  My curious nature caused me to ask Josie if she and Marshall were going to homecoming.  I worried that he didn’t ask her yet.

    “Did Marshall ask you to homecoming yet?”

    She looked puzzled at my question.  I wasn’t sure why she looked puzzled or if it was really any need for worry.

    “No, not yet, but I hope so,” she replied in a somewhat distracted tone.  She seemed very optimistic about Marshall, but I heard some doubt in her voice.  I wanted to cheer her up as much as possible.  I smiled and spoke as confidently as possible.

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you, I mean I could see you two really like each other.”

    Josie said nothing as we walked down the street toward my house.

    “Bye Josie,” I said as I went inside.  I closed my eyes, placed my dress in my closet and went to work on my homework.  I had finished most of it before I went off to my shift.  I wore a yellow and red uniform to work.  I never really liked my uniform.  It was kind of too big for me.  The shirt’s sleeves were so long I had to tuck them up four times a night.  The shoes were very uncomfortable to walk in.  I went to relieve Bob, an older fellow with a weird yellowish right eye.  I usually tried to look at the ground when I relieved him.  I put on a fake smile and waited at my post as usual.  The customers here were either mothers with screaming children or really creepy old men with nowhere else to go.  It was rare for me to meet someone normal and or cute during my shift.

    “Hello, may I help you?” I said.  This was one of many lines that I had until my shift ended at 9:00 p.m.  My shift was somewhat boring and I hated every minute of it. 

    It helped me with my college funds though I sometimes wish I didn’t have to worry about it.  But I then asked myself, who would worry about it?  Besides my father was a drunk and my mother was M.I.A. for god knows how long.  I frowned at these thoughts and felt disturbed by it.

    Anyway, I closed my eyes and continued to work the register for a couple of hours. 

    It was a while before I went home.  It took a few minutes before I decided to go to bed. 

    The following morning seemed peaceful as I ate some breakfast.  I went to school a few minutes later.  Josie and I met near the school entrance.

    “So anyway, how’s it going Josie?”

    “I’m good,” she said as we entered the school.  I felt relaxed as I spoke to her about homecoming.

    “I’m not sure if Marshall will ask me out or not.”

    “I’m sure he’ll ask you out,” I said as we went along.  “I’m sure of it.  Besides I could tell these things when I see them.”

    She looked at me somewhat disappointed.  She whispered something I wasn’t able to hear.  I frowned not sure what to say.

    “Amanda,” said a familiar voice.  I looked up and there stood my government teacher.  He was a tall slender bald man with a thin goatee.  He had a friendly voice most of the time.  I never saw his angry side or knew if he had one.  “Amanda, I’d like to speak to you for a moment or so.”

    I looked from him to my friend as she went to leave.  My smile quickly faded to a frown.  I wanted to stop her, but felt it was best not to.  I took a deep breath looked up at my government teacher as he motioned me toward him.  It was better to submit then argue with him.  I sighed a bit as I went to his room.

    “Amanda, about your grade in Government –”

    “Is it bad?”

    My worry slowly turned to fear.  It felt like he was going to tell me some bad news to confirm it.  My heart started to race as he uttered a response to my somewhat short question.  It wasn’t even a question at all, it was just three words period.

    “No, it’s good, really good actually.  I was just wondering if you’d like to go into AP Government?”

    The worry I felt before was replaced by relief and more doubt.  Government never motivated me to become interested in it.  It was too complicated for me to understand.  I didn’t want to ask it, but I had no choice.  I wanted to get this over with quickly as possible without being rude.

    “Umm will it involve more work?”

    He smiled at me as I finished my sentence.  I wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but felt worried that he might think it was stupid or something.  He said the following in a gentle and caring voice.

    “In a way, it’s not that bad.  I mean you do have the grades for it, but it’s completely your decision.  So what you think?”

    I thought about it for a moment.  My main concern was to whether or not to accept or reject it.  It was something that my father could be proud of, but really would he actually take notice of it?  The answer swiftly arranged itself in my mind.  It was simple and easy to understand; I’m not interested period.  But in the end, all I could manage was one little statement.

    “Can I give you an answer later on?”

    I hated to lie to a teacher, especially to this guy.  He seemed really nice and caring.

    “Of course, sure, there’s no rush here.  I just want what’s best for you.”

    “Thanks,” I said as I went for the door.  I hated to admit it, but I never really thought government was that interesting.  It seemed more like a game of wills than anything else.  I closed my eyes, turned the doorknob and went out the door.  I did not want to admit to him that I’d prefer to study something worthwhile like English or something like that.   I’d rather read something by Emily Dickinson than about some old guy with radical ideas about government and how it should be.  In my opinion, I wanted something that I could take part in and interrupt not debate about.  Debating was something I really didn’t like.  It was something I felt was pointless. 

    Most of my day was spent studying and doing work.

    I went home that afternoon tired all over.  As I entered my house, I noticed a well-dressed woman standing near the kitchen.  She smiled at me as she sat on the kitchen table.  My smile quickly changed to a frown at the sight of her suitcase.  My thoughts were confusing as I tried to figure out whom this was or if my father knew her.

    “Umm you must be Amanda, is that correct?”

    “Yeah, umm and you are?”

    “My names Gwen and I’m with Social Services.  I was going to speak with your father, but he seems unwilling to talk to me at this moment.”

    I wasn’t sure what to say.  My feelings were lukewarm at best.  It wasn’t that I hated my father, it was just I had no idea what Social Services was.  She smiled and I quickly frowned at her.  Something was wrong about it, I just knew it, but what was it?

    “Umm so…why are you here?”

    “I’m just wondering if you are being taken care of, that’s it.  So how is it going with you?”

    “I’m good though my father is always drunk and my mother is never here,” I said as I looked at the ceiling.  I hated to say it, but something about Gwen made me trust her.  My mind drew a complete blank.

    “I see,” she said as she went through her suitcase.   “Anything else you want to say?”

    I wasn’t sure what to say.  My thoughts told me not to be rude.  It wasn’t in my blood to be rude to others. She seemed nice enough to trust.  Nothing can be taken seriously by expressions or gestures alone.

    “I’m not sure what you want me to say.”

    I told her the simple truth and felt somewhat relieved.  There was a small pause.  She smiled and spoke in a friendly manner.

    “Just say how your parents treat you and how you feel about them.” 

    I frowned as I thought about what she just told me.  A million thoughts ran through my mind as I looked at her.  Was she really here?  Or was I just imagining her?  I frowned as I spoke up again.

    “Well, they’re never really here for me and I’d like some support from them, so yeah, I wouldn’t say they’re good parents.”

    She started to write down something on her notepad.  My mind was blank of things to say.  She wrote a lot from just one sentence.  I wasn’t sure how she could write that much based on so little.  My thoughts were confused about where this was going.  My eyes locked on her.  She seemed sort of friendly.  I felt like I knew her in a way.  There was a lot of uncertainty that made me question her.  It was hard to figure out what it was.  Something about her made me want to tell her everything about me.

    “So can I go now?”  I asked as I watched her.  My body felt tired and needed some rest.  This was too much and I’m afraid I can’t handle it.  There was a moment of silence.  I felt nervous that she might become angry or something.  She simply smiled and spoke with a friendly disposition.

    “Umm yeah, you can go now.  I have all I need.  Thank you Ms. Nash.”

    My eyes locked on her before I went.  Nothing from here on in was for certain.
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2007, 09:38:41 pm »

UPDATED:  Friday, Sept 28, 2007

Chapter One

    I looked around for a moment or so in her locker. I had to find that history report.  Great. This is really great. I kept saying to my-self as I searched my locker for it. I smiled at how ironic this was. I was always organized although today was an exception.  I was going to go be late for class again.

    “Hi,” said a deep and somewhat charming voice from behind me. I looked up at the speaker. For a moment, I felt my stomach flutter a bit, but for a moment. I wasn’t sure who this was and figured this girl was new to the school. “My names Mia.”

    “Amanda, it’s nice to meet you, but I have to find something important if you don’t mind.”

    “Need some help?” Mia asked with a smile.

    “Thanks,” I said figuring two heads were better then one. I felt something race in chest when she got near Mia. It felt odd, I never felt this way about anyone before. We smiled at each other before she handed me a piece of paper.

    “Here you go,” she said before she turned and walked away. I shrugged her out of my mind as I headed down the hall toward my history class. I had more important things to worry about such as my relationship to Lucas. He was my boyfriend after all. I had to think of him. And yet, I felt somehow attracted to Mia. I laughed at the thought. It was probably just a weird reaction that’s all.  I rushed into class before the bell rang. I felt relaxed as I took my seat next to Josie and Lucas.

    “Hey Amanda, how was your summer?” Josie asked me as I took my seat.

    “It was great, I got to visit my cousin in San Fran. So how was your summer, Lucas?”

    “It was O.K., I didn’t do much,” he said with a smile to me.
   
    I paused, looked around and asked, “Hey where’s Marshall?”

    “I don’t know,” said Josie. “I hope he’s still alive.”

    Lucas and I gave Josie a look before she replied, “I’m just joking. Of course he’s still alive.”

    Lucas and I frowned at each other before the teacher called my name.

    “Amanda Nash,” he said in a somewhat loud voice.

    “Here,” I replied.

    “Jonathon Peterson?”

    “So anyway,” I said to Lucas. “So what’s the plan for Friday?”

    “I’m not sure, maybe we could hang out near Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor. I heard he’s doing the weekend special again.”

    Josie frowned, as she said, “Didn’t he loss a lot of money on that deal?”

    “I’m not sure,” I said as I checked my watch. I had a lot of classes this semester. I had became more disorganized as the day went. I lost my math homework and well it just went downhill from there.

    “It’s not that interesting Amanda,” said Ms. Thompson as she handed me my romantic short story. “I mean it seems like you didn’t even try to a put some effort in it. It’s not one of your best works.”

    “Why isn’t interesting?” I asked surprised at what she said.

    “Your characters are only two dimensional and there’s not a lot of emotion. I’m sorry, but it’s just not as I hoped it would have been. I’m sure you’ll do better next time.”

    I met with Lucas later on. He told me was busy and that he already had plans. I felt somewhat let down until I saw Mia. I simply told him that it was O.K. and that I was going to study with a new friend of mine. He smiled at me before he kissed me and then walked away.

    Mia smiled at me as she said, “Hi again, so who was that? Your boyfriend?”

    “Yes,” I said with a smile. “So do you have a boyfriend?”

    “I’m not into that whole love thing yet. I’m hoping to start dating after high school. So how long have you two been together?”

    “For a while now,” I said with a smile. I felt something about Mia. It was hard to say what it was. I shrugged the thought completely as I spoke up again. “So I’ll meet you at your house for our study date?”

    “Yeah, sure,” said as she smiled at me and then headed down the hall. I had to admit she was pretty and somehow I felt close to her. I shrugged the thought as I chided me again for thinking it. I was acting stupid and not being my normal self. I headed off to my house, a navy blue Victorian house near the coast. It was about three to six miles from the Pacific Ocean.

    My father was usually working on his weird little inventions to care about anything. I spent most of my time cleaning the house while he worked on his little toys. I never met my mother, she was never around when I was growing up and I always wondered why she wasn’t there.

    “Hey dad,” I said as I looked up at him through a small hole in the ceiling.

    “Yeah, what is it Amanda?”

    “Is it O.K. if I have a friend come over to study?”

    “Yeah, sure why not?”

    I headed up to my room near the loft. I checked my calendar for the first time in three weeks. I frowned at how disorganized I was. I decided to clean up a bit before she came. It was probably best to do something before studying. It was my way of getting ready to do something boring as usual. I went down the stairs to greet Mia. She smiled as I let her in. She held her hand on my cheek somewhat close to my lips. She leaned in and for a moment I wanted her to kiss me. But I pushed away, knowing this wasn’t right.

    “We should probably get down to studying,” I had to move onto what was important. I exhaled a long breath, her perfume, a beautiful kind of scent, which made me feel good and somehow calm. I felt somehow closer too her. I pushed it away from my mind as possible.

    “O.K., so which subject should we start on?”

    I wasn’t sure what subjects she was in and if we had the same ones. She made me feel safe though. I wanted to be with her so badly. But why did I feel that way?

    I closed my eyes hoping for a answer to this. I love Lucas, said a voice in my head.

    ‘Does he love you?’ Said a voice from inside my head. ‘I mean has he showed you any reason to see it that—‘ I ignored that statement knowing no good came out of it. We got up to my room and sat there on my bed in silence.

    Mia whispered, “Do you have class with Mr. Connie?”

    I nodded my head without looking at her.

    “Yeah, I do,” I said with a smile.

    “Cool, so anyway he said that we were going to have a test on the Revolutionary War.” She looked somewhat worried about something. I wasn’t sure why though. I closed my eyes and realized that somehow my world will eventually turn upside down.     

To be continued
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