|Summer of '09
Author: Midnight St Lauder PM
Amandine is about to start over in a different city. She's convinced herself there's nothing left for her at Windsor, until the past turns up in a haze of alcohol, lipstick and gym socks. A story about high school, friends and growing up. [[Wrote this as an attempt at Teen-Fic many years ago. On hiatus, will be improved. Please review though?]]Rated: Fiction M - English - Friendship - Chapters: 16 - Words: 21,113 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 10-26-12 - Published: 05-19-12 - id: 3023921
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
When we reached Hallbridge I had to keep my jaw from dropping. I had heard once or twice from Dad that this was where the posh settlers had put up and was the best planned part of town. The houses, which all looked very different from each other, were even spaced between properly kept yards and wide avenues. The houses here rose a good two or three floors above those where I lived. They each had their own large garages and as we drove down the smooth asphalt, I noted a couple of pools flanked by coloured tiles and ornamental plants. We pulled right into their garage and Calvin led me through a small door into the house, where I all but gasped at the interiors.
We had entered a sort of reception hall that was complete with expensive looking urns and a crystal chandelier. I had never been inside any home that was so well furnished. There was a plush carpet that ran up the stairs, which split away to two different parts of the house. Mrs Wilshaw steered me into the kitchen, which could have easily been something they used in MasterChef. There were even two men in white aprons labouring over the stove.
"Good afternoon, Madam." One of them smiled at Calvin's mother. "Can we get you anything?"
"Just a few lemonades for the children and you can open up that bottle for me a little later." She nodded and pulled open a cabinet. Mrs Wilshaw handed us a couple of candy bars and sent us off to Calvin's room, where we sat down to work on our video.
While we were deliberating over the sequence of events we wanted to portray, his mother peeped into the room to ask me if I would stay for lunch. I frowned slightly. Mama was hardly ever home at this time, she was away at the ward, and I was certain that anything served here would be ten times better than re-heated lasagne.
"I-I don't know, I should probably ask m-my mom." I said hesitantly.
"Show her to the telephone, Cal."
Calvin pushed away his notebooks and library books and pulled an old shoe off his table. I stared up at him quizzically, wondering how exactly I was expected to contact my mother with a shoe. By throwing it halfway across town at her hospital window?
He pressed his fingers on either side of the lacquered ked and pulled it until it was apart from its sole. I gawked as a set of buttons were revealed. Calvin pressed the inside of the shoe to his ear to demonstrate and then handed the contraption to me. He seemed to find my astonishment very amusing, but we just didn't have toys like these growing up.
When I telephoned Mama, she seemed reluctant to let me stay, but gave in when Mrs Wilshaw explained to her that she'd drop me home right after. Lunch was, for lack of a better word, splendid. There were three courses and dessert, and Calvin was busy talking about his old school. I had to raise my hand to my mouth several times when he said something so amusing I was certain I would choke. By four o'clock, I had packed up my things, duly noting the amount of work we had finished – close to nothing – and his mother was ushering me down to the garage again. Calvin waved at me from his bedroom window as we pulled out of the driveway. As I left, I wondered how many times I would come back.
Mrs Wilshaw had only just driven off from in front of our house, with a pleasant smile, entreating me to join them again someday, when I realized something was terribly wrong. As I made my way up the gravelled path, I noticed the lights in the upstairs rooms were on and there was a heavy silence about the house. I quickly peeked over the hydrangea bushes to find that Dad's car was parked at an odd angle. It was unusual for him to be home so early. I entered from the side door that led into the kitchen. The TV was on in the sitting room, but it was empty. Proceeding up the stairs, I heard a scraping sound and the tinkering of glass. At the landing, Mama was kneeling before the old wooden table, brushing what looked like broken glass into a dustpan. She straightened up and was startled to see me.
"Amandine? You're home."
Uncertain of how to respond to the statement, I offered to help. She shook her head.
"It's quite alright." With that, she bustled down to the kitchen – I heard the dustbin open and the contents of the dustpan drop into the plastic lining. A tap was run somewhere and a glass was taken out of the cabinet. I had to cross my parents' bedroom to get to my own and I saw the door was ajar. Cautiously, and at a safe distance, I peeped in to find my father lying on his back on the tidy little bed, looking at the wall clock. He hadn't noticed me and I hurried past to keep it that way.
I was determined to finish my research for the project, but barely a quarter of an hour after I had sat down, harsh words began to be flung about.
I was reading the words in my textbook, going over the same seven words over and over, eager to commit it to my memory, but what went on for most of that night prevented me from thinking about work at all.
For about two terms, I was able to keep my head in the game only because of my friends. They had grown to accept each other, if not like each other. Terence was often missing because of 'practice' which gradually became his new code for Jessica Groves, but we did manage to squeeze in a few hours together after school.
"Hey, Cal and I are going to check out that comic book store that just opened up on Ridge Street, you wanna come?" I asked him one day.
Terence shrugged in that nonchalant way of his and assented. The store wasn't more than a block away from school and we weren't too surprised to find a lot of familiar faces milling about nearby, dabbing the sweat off their brows and puckering their lips over the straws of their lemonades.
"Oh my god, this isn't even out on the internet yet!" Calvin's eyes grew wide as he studied the artwork of a Marvel comic.
"No shit, it has to come out in print before it hits the sites." Terence rolled his eyes.
"I wish my parents gave me raise." I said, referring to my allowance, as I examined a small Iron Man USB drive between my fingers.
Terence was preoccupied with a similar piece of merchandise. He smirked and said, "I don't," before pocketing the drive.
I blinked rapidly, trying to process what I had just seen. Terence was a lot of things, but a thief? I glanced at Calvin, to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.
"Dude, you-" Calvin spluttered. "You're going to get us all in trouble!"
"Calm your tits, Calvin. There's no surveillance and I don't see any detectors on the doors."
Obviously, Terence was a lot more skilled at this than I had imagined.
"It's a shame about that pocket money." He said, distantly, as I held the USB drive in my hand.
I looked up at him, certain of what he was suggesting. "I can't do that, T, you know I can't, it's just not-"
"Boohoo." Terence frowned and walked off to a different part of the store.
I could not have been more disappointed in myself than Calvin was when he watched, mouth open, as I pushed the drive deep into my pocket and strode over to flip through a few comics. That was probably the first and last time I ever shop-lifted. Calvin had made me feel so guilty about it that when Terence was away at practice, I went back to the store, dropped it back into the basket and paid for a particularly pricey comic book before leaving. Though, unfortunately, it wasn't the last time Terence managed to corrupt me. The second time, he dragged Calvin down too.