Soft, Brown Eyes

Her soft, brown eyes hollowed the way they always did when she was thinking. The normal fiery wildness was gone from their domain. Her strong outgoing spirit was silenced by the quietude of life.

Jake had barley seen Charlette like this. The last time this happened was the day she came to school at noon last year on her fifteenth birthday. She wouldn't tell him why she had been so tardy, so he decided to just let her tell him when she was ready. Back then, he never questioned things. He listened to what other people had said, and believed just that. But, he hadn't gone over to her house since.

They used to hang out all the time. In fact, when she moved to his Elementary School in sixth grade, he was her first friend, or was it Dena? He couldn't remember! All he knew that she was five days away from her sixteenth birthday.

He knew she had liked him in the past, but now she lived in her own little world. The only way she would talk to her friends was if they would bug her to! She used to be up in everyone's face, but now, she was a void…

"Charlette," Jake whispered to the girl in front of him, "How's life?"

She didn't reply. She didn't want to reply. All she wanted was to get out of here.

"Charlette, are you ok?" Jake put his hand on her shoulder.

Charlette shook it off, "Go make out with Hillary, or something! Just leave me alone!"

"Char, please!"

"GO!"

"Fine, if you have to be a jerk about it, I will go and make out with Hillary! In fact, I'll do it in front of the teachers!'

"You know, you'll get in trouble!"

"You're in more mental trouble than I am!"

Charlette broke. She kicked him in the shins and went back into the lunch line, as she counted up what she was to buy…

Jake was 6'4". Hillary was 5'7". They were a perfect height for each other, especially when it came to making out. Hillary's dark brown hair swayed in the gentle breeze as the kiss enlightened her.

It didn't enlighten Jake though. Hillary had been his girlfriend since eighth grade, but Charlette was like an amusing, fun to annoy, life-long sister. He had known Hillary longer, but Charlette was a better friend. He had many scars in his shins just trying to talk to her this past year. He didn't ask her last year. He couldn't think for himself then. But now he's realized that she won't give up, she wanted to be alone, and that was something Jake couldn't deal with.

"Jake North! Hillary Heart! What are you doing?" Miss Clarkson came up. "You need to call your parents immediately, telling them what you've just done! Better yet, Hillary, call Jake's parents! Jake, you call Hillary's! Did I make my self clear? You tell the other's parents what you've done, and on school grounds! What were you thinking? Come to my office immediately!" She pushed them in front of her to the office.

"Hello?" Hillary's mom answered.

"Hello, Mrs. Heart, this is Jake, Hillary's boyfriend. We go to church together."

"Oh, yes! You've been over quite a few times! Hillary's always talking about you! All the dates you've taken and stuff!"

"That's good! I'm calling from the school office saying that I kissed your daughter."

"Haven't you done that already? What a foolish thing to call for!"

"Yes, Mrs. Heart, I know. Hillary is about to call my mother, Natalie, for the same reason."

"She won't mind! What crazy school are they running over there?"

"Yes, Mrs. Heart, exactly what I was thinking. Well, goodbye then!"

"Bye!" Mrs. Heart hung up.

"North residence, this is she."

"Hello, Natalie! This is Hillary, Jake's girlfriend."

"Hi, Hillary what's Jake up to this time?"

"We kissed."

"That's it?"

"Yes, Natalie."

"Are up serious?"

"Yes, Mrs. North, that's it."

"I'm putting in a complaint! Would you like to come over after school for cookies?"

"Oh, yes!"

"Good! See you around!" Natalie hung up.

"Have you two learned your lesson?" Mrs. Clarkson asked.

"Yes madam!" Hillary and Jake said in unison.

"Good, now, I'll leave the punishment up to your parents, but just so this doesn't happen again, I'm giving you each a card signature. Give me your cards." They handed her their Citizenship Cards. At least that was only their first signature. If they got three, they wouldn't be able to go to Washington DC for their History class.

"Jake, will you tell me why you kissed me in front of our school principal?" Hillary asked her love.

"No reason, I just wanted to feel your touch, that's all." Jake replied guiltily.

"No you haven't! I saw you talking to Charlette! You may still be friends with her, but I'm not!"

"Why aren't you friends with her anymore? She used to be better friends than you are with Melissa!"

"FYI, she was equal to Melissa, not better! She just lost her weirdness!" Hillary stuck her nose in the air.

"So, when she's weird, you tell her to calm down, but when she's calm, you miss her being weird? You're pathetic!"

Hillary's mouth dropped. "Jake, what do you mean by pathetic?"

"I mean just that! She starts getting depressed and boring, so you don't hang out with her anymore? You didn't even ask what happened! Notice the scars on my shins? Those are a result of being a good friend! I know, or else she wouldn't get mad at me for not leaving her alone!"

"You know what?"

"What?"

"You like her! You want to hold her in your arms like you hold me!"

"No I don't! Hers and mine is more of a brother-sister love! What I have for you is a love for a future-spouse!"

"You make me sick! All you do is talk about her being your sister! Well, if you WANT her to be Natalie's daughter, just marry her! That'll be her mother-in-law! So go!" Hillary started to cry. She wanted Jake, but she just gave him up.

"Why are you crying? I told you I loved you like you were to be my spouse! Why are you so upset when you were the one who gave up me?"

"Jake, I do love you! It just hurts to uncover what you're really thinking!" She yelled in a course voice as her mascara got smeared.

"Hill, that's not what I'm thinking. I love you, I really do." He spoke softly with her as she calmed down and somehow managed to get into his arms. She kept hold to his embrace until the bell rang to get back to classes…

Charlette wasn't in any of his class until Choir. Charlette used let everything out in song. Now she whispered quietly the words. Her parents didn't come to her concerts anymore, they just dropped her off. Charlette hadn't had a lead part for a while. The last time she had one was in the eighth grade, and that was saying the names of the songs and an intro to them.

Charlette recited the beautiful song in her mind. It had a dramatic piano line that soothed her. The words may be intangible, but she could feel them with her soul, her heart, and her mind. A sound came from the choir like a thousand angels' voices.

They sang. They didn't just recite words with the correct notes; they put their soul into it. The ending seemed to produce fireworks as the piano held up its self strongly as it faded, getting weaker and weaker.

"Mrs. Allen, is this one of our choices for our performance at the PFC?" Hillary asked, joyfully.

"Yes, Hillary, it is! Did you like it?"

"Yes, I-" The phone interrupted her.

"Hold that thought. This is Mrs. Allen."

"Mrs. Allen, this is the front office. We'd like to speak to Charlette Katrina Stor, please."

"Yes, one moment!" She faced the choir. "Charlette, the front office would like to speak to you."

"OK." Charlette grabbed the phone.

"Hello?"

"Charlette Katrina Stor?"

"Yes."

"We have some bad news."

"What is it?"

"Well, your sister called saying that your-your father passed away this afternoon on a business meeting."

"WHAT?" she yelled. "Oh, no, this can't be happening." She muttered to herself.

"I'm so sorry! I'm the only one up here that knows that, if it makes you feel better."

Charlette didn't reply. If she did, the tears building up would burst out. She hung up the phone and ran.

The class jumped and Jake ran after her. The door flew open and he got to it just in time for him to slip under it. Before running out, he saw a furious look appear on Hillary's face, but he didn't care. He would just keep running. No matter how much he knew he loved Hillary, Hillary was right. He did love Charlette. He and Dena were her only friends left. Dena understood her better than he could, but what did he know about girls? He was a guy.

He traveled across the football field, slipped under the fence and made his way to the dugout in the Baseball field where Charlette sat, a puddle of water underneath her feet. She didn't notice him approaching, so he slowed down. He heard her sobs and came over to her. She finally noticed he was there, and started to hide in the corner, even though it was useless.

He came over and sat down next to her.

"Char."

"WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO GIVE YOU! ALL YOU'VE EVER WANTED WAS HILLARY! NOW SCRAM!" She sobbed and wrapped her arms around her knees.

"Shhhh…" He quieted her while putting his arms around her. "What's wrong?"

"Everything." She whispered.

"Start with your fifteenth birthday. That's when everything went downhill."

"Well, five days before that, my mom died. I woke up and there were a bunch of police officers around. I saw my mom dead on the floor with three bullets in her body. My dad, well, my dad was crying. I'd never seen him do that before. I was paralyzed with shock and didn't believe that that was my mom.

"Evidently, she had got home from a night out to go Karaoke and found a man approaching my bedroom. She startled him, so he sent three bullets to her heart. He ran out of the house, after killing my mom.

"I couldn't tell anyone, but Dena. I knew Dena would listen, but I knew you weren't ready. You've never been ready, until now.

"The phone call I received this afternoon was about my dad dying. He was killed in a car crash. I told him this morning that I, that I hated him. I don't. I love him. I just couldn't stand being strong anymore. I couldn't let my dad see me crying! I wouldn't even let my mom see me cry when I really needed it! I guess the reason I told my dad I hate him, was so that I could be strong because I loved him.

"They're trying to send me to a family. They'll probably send me to Tomi and Allen's house with their girls Casey and Allison."

"Char, will you forgive me?" Jake asked.

"Yes, but you should be the one forgiving me. I hurt you when you were trying to help. You reached out to me, but I shot you down. You cared for me like a sister, but I didn't. To me you were a scum-sucking maggot for even trying to communicate to me. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." She mumbled.

"Char, it's ok. I love you like you were my sister. You know what you have done wrong, and have asked for forgiveness, and that's what I bestow upon you, forgiveness."

"Jake, may I ask you something?"

"You already have."

"Jake, you know what I mean!"

"Do I?"

"Yes, you do!"

"Gosh, I was just trying to through some humor into it! Fine, ask away."

"How are you so strong?"

"Why do you act strong, when weak?"

"It's in my blood."

"It's not in mine. I am just that way. I'm trying to handle your tragedy, but I really can't relate or imagine what's happened. I try to be strong and understand, just like you try to be strong so that you aren't comforted, since that seems to be your goal. You just want to be alone and have God confront you. You don't want an earthly substance to hold your hand, like I'm doing. You just want to make sure no one sees the weak in you. Char, you're not alone. You aren't alone, because even though I don't and may never understand, there are others like you. Just because one person's died, doesn't mean that it only affects you, it also affects others, like your dad and grandma. What are they doing? Your dad has completely collapsed while you and your grandma seem to be planting your feet on solid ground, but you're drowning in the deepest ocean. See, you're stronger than I am, because you are carrying a bigger burden, while I'm worrying what I'm going to wear the next day. If both my parents died, I would collapse like your dad. I wouldn't be able to live without them. You must see yourself in a greater light!"

"Jake, thanks. I really needed that." Charlette got up and wiped her tears. She gave him a hug and walked passed the baseball field and into the football field.

That's when it happened. The sky went pitch black. There wasn't a star to be seen. A single strand of a glowing white light beamed down on the spot where Charlette stood. A girl slowly descended down. She held in her hand a music box. It was playing a calming tune. Her head was bowed. Her short, black hair flew up. Her eyelids were placed gently over her eyes while her eyelashes curled. Her tiny nose was sharp and her cheeks a pale rose. Her skin was white and her face softly curved. Her hands were gently wrapped around the music box and her tiny, bare feet pointed. Her white, lacy dress fluttered, while the jasmine in her hair gently swayed. Her feet touched the ground as though a feather hit it, and she walked softly across the grass to Charlette. She immediately presented her with the mahogany box and the tune filled the air along with the fragrance of the jasmine.

"Charlette," the figure spoke, "do you know who I am?"

"No." Charlette's voice was as gentle as the porcelain-like girl in front of her.

"I am Kome. I am here to take you on your mission. You must find our origin."

"What do you mean?"

"The person who's thoughts molded us and our master, the God of our God."

"Do you mean Jesus, God, or a human?"

"Our God is human, but her God is a real God, a God with heavenly host. Therefore, he is our God."

"I accept, but how must I find him?"

"It is not a 'him', but a 'her', a girl. You must accept me, to accept her, to accept God. That is the sequence that follows. Once she is found, I will let go of you, and give you your full freedom, the freedom of belonging to your God, to live in peace and harmony, and be free of sin. Are you ready?"

"Wait, I must say goodbye!" Charlette ran to Jake. "Jake, I must speak."

"Yes?"

"I won't see you until the end."

"What end?"

"The end I shall soon come to, and you, many years later."

"Charlette, I love you!" He kissed her. Charlette had never been kissed, had never lived in her entire life, until this moment, the last moment of her life. Her heart beat, as fast as it had in her life.

She didn't want this moment to end, yet fate said it must, and Kome called her to just that. "Charlette, it is time."

"Goodbye, Jake. You'll always be in my heart." Her hand unwillingly let go of his and she came to the light. Her spirit left her, and the spirit took the music with her. Kome passed through Charlette's body, and became her.

"You are Jake. Am I correct?"

"Yes, Charlette, I am."

"Yes, so could you show me around?"

"I'd be honored to."

Acmenta came back from his vision. He approached the despair-filled Himon. Acmenta extended hand his hand out and then he gently wrapped his five fingers around Himon's shoulder

"Don't worry, she's safe."

7